He arrived just under ten days ago with a fair bit of luggage and things have been exciting ever since. I'd only met him twice previously which is not much before having someone to stay for a month when all is said and done!
As you may have guessed, my visitor is not a human one!
I've done cat-sitting before - fairly straightforward. I've also looked after a neighbour's chickens - again fairly straightforward. Parrot-sitting is a whole new (and not entirely risk-free) ball game! All the literature and, believe me, I have read a lot in the last ten days or so, insists on the importance of parrots being trained to "step up" and "step down" on command.
|On H's shoulder before shoulders were deemed out of bounds as too risky for the owner of the shoulder!|
But parrots are mighty quick learners and Raffles is as smart as any quick-witted three-year old. A week on and he has learnt that my shoulder is a no-go area - too close to my face and the apparently irresistible lure of my hair-slide for comfort. He now sits happily on my forearm for conversation, a snuggle if he's in the mood and any treats that are going, as well as a base from which to take off and return to when having a fly round the room. I hear my own voice echoed in his imitation of conversation - seriously weird, I tell you, to hear what you say being imitated and repeated by a parrot - and work 'phone conversations, when he is being chatty, can only be conducted by the judicious application of choice morsels of chilled celery or banana slice bribes! It's a whole new take on life, living with a parrot and despite the initial teething (ha ha - apologies for the bad pun!) problems of behaviour I shall miss him like nothing else when he goes home. He greets me when I come in. He says goodbye when I go out and when I'm in the house but not visible he keeps in touch by calling and chatting just to make sure I am there. When he is feeling affectionate he is utterly endearing and melts my heart every time he puts his head against my hand for a snuggle. I have learned more both about myself and about him than I ever thought I would when I took this on. As is so often the case when one takes on looking after and loving an animal (or bird) for who he or she really is.
|"Time out" for good behaviour!|
Parrots, apparently, are like elephants and never forget, so any mistakes their carers make are indelibly marked on their memories - I am sure I have made plenty of mistakes with Raffles (hopefully nothing too major but I have had to learn what goes and what doesn't) but the fact that his crest still rises on seeing me and he never fails to give me his own special call of welcome every time he sees me says to me that parrots may never forget but they can also forgive the odd inadvertent error!
|"Who's a pretty boy then?"!|