Thursday, April 18, 2013

Bird in the Wind


We were living in the country early this century when the straight-line wind came. We had a home with a covered porch where I often hung the parakeet so the bird could enjoy the great out-of-doors. As far as I could tell, he liked it until that wind storm. You know where this is going, right? But first, let me give you a little history of us and parakeets.

We had enjoyed these little pets for a long time. One of my colleagues had Georgy Bird, a green parakeet that talked a blue streak. Some of the things he said were embarrassing, so I determined that if I got one, I would keep his vocabulary clean and avoid visits with Georgy Bird. Our first one, Alan, a green one, didn’t talk for quite a spell, but he eventually said, in my voice, “You crazy old turkey bird.” I recognized the statement as something I had called Alan repeatedly while playing with him. After that initial utterance, we could not shut him up. His repertoire included such statements as, “To be or not to be,” “Inside, Alan,” (I said the phrase every time I put him back in his cage) “I love you” and my favorite, “How unique!” You see, when people would visit and try to get him to talk by saying such common things as “pretty bird” or “Polly wants a cracker,” Alan would reply in a bored, somewhat sarcastic tone, “How unique.”

Our second bird, Horatio, also green and very friendly, didn’t talk much at all, but he could do the wolf whistle like nobody’s business. I kept him outside some, but stopped putting him out there when I overheard a neighbor saying, “Every time I step outside, someone whistles at me.”

Our third bird, Bird E. Birdy, was light blue and quite cranky. Maybe as parakeets get away from their native color, green, their personality changes. He never warmed up to handling and, unlike most pet birds, Bird E. Birdy preferred to stay in his cage. I could leave his door open all day and he would just sit there on his perch, munching seeds. He had very little curiosity about the world of humans.

Well, on the day of the great winds, we had a function at church, so we just left Bird E. Birdy hanging in his cage on our porch. During our church event, someone came in to report that a tree was down beside the parking lot and that the wind was blowing to beat the band. Oh, poor Bird E. Birdy, we thought.

When the wind died down some, we went on home, observing significant wind damage along the way. We dreaded the dire avian spectacle we might find at home. But, to our relief, Bird E. Birdy’s cage was intact and the bird was himself, unruffled, but seedless. He warmed up to us a bit after that experience. I guess the storm took the wind out of his sail. If Bird E. Birdy had learned the vocabulary of Georgy Bird, I’m pretty sure what he would have said to us.

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