Franklin continues to amaze me

Franklin the parrot has been with us for a month now. We’ve worked out our little routines. I have found that like dogs, birds seem to thrive on routines. I do too, so it makes sense to me.

Franklin groomingHe is starting to really get into his life here. He is willing to try any food I offer and has some favorites: for breakfast he LOVES oatmeal, toast, pancakes (but only with pure maple syrup) and soy milk (which he calls “water”.) For lunch and dinner he is eating peas, corn, carrots, onions (!), apples, potatoes, sweet potatoes, noodles and toast. I eat a lot of toast. He is trying to eat greens but is taking to them slowly. He ate more tonight though than he has yet so there is hope.

He has figured out how to communicate when he wants more of something to eat by making a little “pip” of a sound. When he’s had enough he’ll turn his head a way or take the food and drop it and look at me meaningfully. He has a word for water, more of a sound really but it is getting closer to a word. The thing that is amazing is that he uses the word when he wants something to drink (including soy milk) but also seems to use it to indicate that he notices water. For example, it was raining one night and I was shutting the window with him perched on my hand, (his favorite spot) and he cocked his head listening to the rain fall and said “water”. I was shocked. But he’s done similar things since. When he hears the faucet on he says “water” and when I was boiling potatoes for dinner tonight I opened the pot and he saw the boiling water and said “water” So, I must conclude that he understands what water is. Not surprising really, as water is something important to him.

He has a name for Mike, a sound like the buzzer that goes off on a game show when you get the wrong answer. A name for my son which sounds like the playful yell he always makes, and he has called me what sounds like “mom” on a few occasions lately. He has started saying “Quiet!” when the dogs bark but he hasn’t really got the word sounding like a word yet, just two syllables of negative sound.

Yesterday I was outside doing yard work and I happened to pass by the open door and heard him inside practicing all his sounds. I heard what sounded exactly like a dog barking, a zipper (his most recent favorite sound), a wild bird call that we always hear around here, and then I heard him practicing all the words I keep saying to him that he hasn’t repeated yet. I heard, “OOOHHH pretty bird! What a GOOD bird! OHHH Good Bird! OHH Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. WOO HOO!” Over and over and over again. He was clearly practicing, varying the pitch and trying to get the sounds right. It was so cool.

I have been obsessed with “Enriching his Environment.” I read about this in my book by Mattie Sue Athan, Guide to the Quaker Parrot. I think Frank Frank has lead a pretty sheltered life up to this point. Sure he was loved, that is obvious. But he doesn’t seem to know how to play by himself, he was really clumsy and had a weak grip and he didn’t eat anything but bananas. Now his grip on my finger is strong and he is learning to climb. Thanks to my latest creative obsession: Building parrot play stands. Ok, I got the idea off the Internet and want to give credit where credit is due. Check out these sites for ideas or to buy your own. These are a works of art in my opinion. But mine are pretty cool too and they are free.

Here is a photo of his new digs with my first attempt at a play stand. I will have a post coming soon with step by step descriptions of my second attempt at a play stand, which if I do say so myself is coming together quite nicely!

The new digs newdigs2
May 16, 2009 • Tags: , , • Posted in: bird, observations, story update

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