What Should you Do if Your Parrot Bites You?
None of us get all of this right all the time. Consider this a rally cry sent into the stratosphere of the companion parrot world. And go ahead and apply this to life in general. It really takes the pressure off.
Yesterday Snickers latched onto my earlobe and left two clefts as a gift. It was one of those injuries where you are left in front of the mirror deciding whether an urgent care center visit is necessary for stitches, or do you use surgical glue and man up. Because let's face it. Earlobes are weird. I triage via wound inspection. Can I clean and close this wound? Can I stop the bleeding? Do I have liquid wound stuff? Yes, to all three! I'm not risking catching the flu at a care center full of flu sufferers, to have a doctor tell me he can't stitch anything because my earlobes are the size of Oompa Loompa earlobes. I already know that, why pay for information I already own.
The morning of day two after the event. Seventeen hours later. I cleaned the area again and feel pretty confident in a week I should have a dented earlobe, but nothing more. And quite frankly, if not, I can hunt down some cosmetic surgeon guy to do an office fix. It's whatever. I have to fly into Houston, Texas and speak next at the 2018 Feather Festival. I find this both ironic and timely.
What Causes a Parrot to Bite?
What caused TwoHandsFull to decide I needed reminding of territory boundaries? Me, thank you very much. Me playing a fine game of towels and couch digging. He's all stimulated and when we finish, he jumps onto the top of the macaw cage with the play top. Where two towels from last night's playtime remained. Ah! But to be more aware and less confident.
Butters is up there. Normally she rejects all his offers of engagement and marriage. Because he is a loud, klutzy dork far below her standards. But last night was different. There was a less loud, klutzy dork overstimulated and looking for action. And there was the beginning of a nesting area. And there was Butters. But you see, I was too busy moving onto my own thing. Time for yoga and squats! And I do that in the bird room. And I do that just a few feet away from this particular cage that created a pinnacle moment in time and place for a male and female macaw to discuss their future as bird and wife or at least to discuss Snickers' needs.
While I'm on squat nineteen, lifting hand weights far too close to this love boat of a cage top, Snickers had no choice but to tell me to take a hike the only way he knows how, like a parrot.
This wasn't personal, it wasn't him hating me. This was a parrot being a parrot first. I don't take this personal. I can't. That would not be fair to him.
When we brought parrots, exotic and wild at heart, into this house we brought all the intangibles that follow. Lion tamers don't expect their lions to turn into house cats. Alligator wrestlers don't expect their alligators to turn into lap dogs. And I do not expect our exotic companion parrots to act like any other creature than an exotic parrot. I didn't react to this moment. I didn't bring it up. I acted like it didn't happen. Because he is a parrot, stuck in my small, boring, and no matter how much I work at it, not his world, world.
Parrots bite. Parrots are loud. Parrots are messy. Parrots are not everyone's cup of tea. And to civilians we make little sense inside our lifestyle.
When I head out to Houston next Friday and speak Saturday, I will deliver my presentation, Making communication and Understanding Easier Between you and Your Parrot. I don't see this moment as a threat to my experience or knowledge. I don't see my wonky earlobe as testament to failure. It's simply a testament to the fact none of us get all of this right all the time.
This morning when I woke everybody up for the day Snickers looked straight at me and said, "Hi! Good boy, Snickerdoodle!"
I believe him.