Unbelievable you say! It’s true, Pedro is 30 years old and we got him as a baby. He’s still going strong. You could call our time with Pedro a love/ hate relationship. (mostly love). And some of the time we wonder who is running this household, us or Pedro?
I open the refrigerator and he says “cracker?” We talk about going somewhere and he says, “want to go bye-bye?” I’m on my way out, and coming from his cage: “you look beautiful.” ( Isn’t he sweet?) As we go out the door he calls, “Adios Amigo.” If breakfast is ready and Burl hasn’t come into the kitchen, at my direction he calls “Burl.” After several sweet sounding calls and some not so sweet, if Burl hasn’t arrived, he screams. (he only screams when it’s necessary!) If screaming doesn’t work, he uses a very demanding whistle.
He looks forward to a fresh, new cardboard box to be put in his cage. He talks to it and calls it “beautiful,” and to express his thankfulness to Burl he says, “that’s a good bird.” He proceeds to make a round hole in one corner and crawls inside where he holds a, soft, one sided conversation. “How are you?” “Wanna a kiss?” “You’re beautiful.” That’s when we feel sorry for him, until the next scream that is, or until he decides to get into one of our heated discussions and becomes so loud that we can’t hear ourselves and the whole episode ends in laughter, and can he laugh! It’s only when he’s frustrated that he screams. Who, being in a cage for thirty years wouldn’t do the same. Occasionally, Burl will give him a pep talk on how fortunate he is to be living where he is safe from angry farmers who shoot parrots in Honduras, his birth place. Of all things, our son-in-law, Matt Broscious, taught him to say, “Help let me out.”
We don’t know how but explaining things to him helps, especially when it’s time to cut his toenails. You can’t be in a hurry, it takes lots of coaxing and sweet talk and even then, I oftentimes get bit (ouch). His cage is next to the table in the eating room, right where he can coax for the food he wants. Although his share of scrambled eggs are not eaten yet, he asks for more before Burl eats them all. He knows exactly the number of foods being served and is not content until he has some of each dish.
We didn’t realize that Burl whistles after lunch, until we noticed that it had become a game with Pedro who tries to whistle first. He is just as good at making up tunes as Burl is. “Want a bath?” He knows immediately what I”m saying and that I’ll go for the spray bottle. There’s another spray bottle that’s reserved for the big “D”, discipline! When he is driving us crazy with his shenanigans, after several warnings, he gets a fine, shot of water through the cage bars right into his snoot. He then says, “Poor Baby,” and cries like one.
Mornings Pedro greets us with “Good Morning, How are you?” It’s no wonder that he believes he is in charge here, after all, we leave him most days to run the place by himself. When we return we’re greeted with a cheery “Hello Burl,” “Hi Shirley.” Remember he has no lips, but somehow he gets out something that resembles the “S” in Shirl.
We never know when he will burst forth with a rendition of “Yankee Doodle” or “Amazing Grace.” We’re convinced that Pedro is very smart. What do other parrot owners think about this? There’s a bumper sticker that reads, “My parrot is smarter than your honor student,” go figure!
I could go on about Pedro, but I’m way over the word count I try to keep “Shirl and You” at. We’ve tried to live an ordinary life, up bright and early, off to work, back for dinner, then to bed. but it’s been far from ordinary, living with a parrot!