Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Teaching new tricks

Younger Daughters's Quaker parrot, Lihn, is now almost two years old. She's quite the sassy little bird, opinionated and chatty, and lots of fun. (Mostly. Except when she squawks loudly to deliberately inflict misery on poor Lydia, who howls in response. They set each other off. It's actually quite funny.)

She has a fun vocabulary so far, ranging from whistles (including a wolf whistle), kissing, clicks, snaps, boops, etc., to words like "toodle pip" (just a nonsense word), hello (she says that whenever the phone rings or someone walks in the house), clever girl, and, most hilarious, a perfect imitation of an "evil laugh" ("bwahahahahaha!") which she manages to insert with perfect comic timing into conversations.

Anyway, Younger Daughter is teaching her a new trick: to lie quietly on her back and let her head be stroked. This is more than just a parlor trick -- it's a handy way to keep the bird quiet while gently releasing pin feathers on her head that are just coming in, and which seem to cause her a lot of itchiness unless the thin casings are rubbed off. In the wild, grooming of this nature would be done by other parrots in her flock.

Birds don't like to be off their feet -- to "lie down" is a sign of illness -- so it's something that goes against her instincts. Still, she trusts Younger Daughter implicitly and has learned being on her back with her head being rubbed has a soporific effect -- she actually dozes while Younger Daughter gently rubs away the casings on the pin feathers and releases the growing feather.

This state only lasts a few minutes before she pops her eyes open and decides she's had enough.

Then it's back on her feet to fluffle her feathers and re-assume her sassy ways.

Yep, lots of personality in this little lady.


  1. Sweet! I've always been fascinated with parrots and your daughter is so responsible to take care of her pet in a manner that mimics nature!

  2. My first thought ... so calling someone a bird brain is really a compliment!

  3. Lovely girl! I thought toodle-pip was a British-ism for 'bye-bye'. Perhaps Linh is watching old Sherlock Holmes films on the sly. 8-)

    Janet in MA

  4. I love the "bwahahaha" comment. That really made me laugh!