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June 30, 2013 / angelavbolton

Paulie the Parrot Back Home

Paulie on her first day with her new family, Brigid and Eoin, in Longford (photo: Siobhán Bickerdike)

Paulie on her first day with her foster family in Longford (photo: Siobhán Bickerdike)

Our African Grey parrot, Paulie, has now returned from four months at her foster home in Longford. Apparently she stopped eating and stopped talking – two of the three signs that a parrot is sick – but I think she was happy to get back into her routine in Aungier Street and soon began to eat and yak at me.

Apparently birds try to hide it if they’re sick – in the wild they’d be considered a liability by the flock and probably driven off. So we needed to be careful as our Paulie is very precious and a member of the family, not a pet. If anything, I’m her ‘human’: her haughtiness and majestic demeanour make it clear that I do her bidding and she does what she wants.

She understands so many words: over the last few weeks it seems she’s wanted to bathe more – jumps in and out of her drinking water bowl until finally, in exasperation, she starts saying ‘Paulie has a bath’ until I get up off my butt. I put an oblong ceramic dish into her cage and she walks up and down in it, continuing to announce she’s having a bath and keeping an eye on me to make sure I don’t get up to get the water sprayer (she doesn’t know how to bathe properly so to get her upmost feathers clean she needs spraying) but I haven’t on the last two occasions and she’s absolutely delighted with herself.

She headbangs and says ‘let’s rock’ every time anything of that ilk is played: she can distinguish rock and blues from everything else – I guess it’s been her staple diet since she was a baby. Bob would play a blues riff for her and whistle things, and eventually she’d come up with a ‘tune’ of her own – and it was in tune.

I’m still trying to teach her snatches of The Addams Family theme and a bit of Vivaldi, and she has a few notes of each of them, so puts them together and makes up something new… but strangely familiar…

However, this morning she’s in disgrace for nipping me when I put her into her cage so I could go to work.

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