Monday, April 27, 2009

The "Yellow Bully"


As I write this the only birds now left in my big bird cage are my “family” of finches. Actually, it didn’t take but a few weeks for me to become completely disenamored with their five fancier erstwhile cage-mates—these being the love bird, the pair of parakeets, and the two pigeon-sized cockatiels. But the first of these fancier fowl to become unwelcome to the point of eviction was the yellow African love bird.

I grew tired of watching “the African” bully around all the others, including the larger cockatiels, not to mention the way it wreaked havoc on all the plants in the cage. I asked my girls if they’d like to take it home. They loved the idea, and a quick text to their mom revealed that she was also agreeable to having a new bird for a pet. So, all that was left was the capturing.

I have a small bird net that I picked up at the pet shop. I wasn’t sure how effective it would be though, with a handle not much more than 2 feet long. It was designed for catching birds within much smaller confines than my big walk in cage. Nonetheless, with little net in hand I gave it a go. Soon though, I realized there was no way it was going to happen. The elusive love bird flew too fast and perched too high for me to snag it. Then—inspiration struck.

I went out and grabbed up a 5 foot length of orange PVC pipe. With the pipe in my left hand and net in my right, I was able to keep harassing pressure on the bird, constantly poking at it with the long plastic pipe. This kept it flying nonstop from one side of the cage to the other. Within a minute or two it was so fatigued that it could hardly flap its wings anymore. The other birds were just as agitated, greatly adding to the fluttering chirping squawking confusion, but I kept my focus on the African, flying desperately back and forth above me.

Finally, nearing total exhaustion, the panting love bird landed just 6 feet up on the cage’s netting only an arm’s length away. I easily dropped the net over it and folded it inside the material. Without thinking it through I reached in, figuring to grab the heaving little thing around its lightweight birdie body for the transfer to a small cage. HUGE mistake!

Love birds have fairly powerful beaks, something that I should have kept in mind the way it so easily popped open sunflower seeds and handily gnawed through the thickest of my potted palm fronds. With a vengeance it bit down on the base of my left thumb with all its strength. The pain was shocking; I wasn’t expecting it.

My first inclination was to just crush its tiny head, especially since it seemed intent on staying latched to me forever. Instead, restraining my initial reaction to commit bird murder, I grabbed it by its little skull and pulled as gently as I could, the whole time repeating “Ow!” through gritted teeth.

At last it let go. I hurriedly pushed my feathered little tormentor inside the open door of his new birdie apartment, immediately slamming the sliding door down behind it. Without hesitation it flew and scrambled across the bottom of the cage in a yellow blur and right back out, magically seemingly to pass right through the narrow bars of the little cage.

‘No way! How did you do that, you little piece of …?’

Dang! I had failed to notice that the built-in openings for the plastic food trays were just large enough to act as miniature escape doors for tiny-bodied love birds. Cursing, I retrieved and installed the trays to once more make the enclosure “bird tight.” Now, to catch that little rascal all over again.

This time, after capturing the African in the same manner as before, only quicker, I was careful not to expose any part of me to his vicious little biting beak. Actually, as bad as it had pinched me before, it had never even broken the skin—so, no blood, no big deal.

I felt bad seeing it stuck inside a tiny little cage again. It looked confused, frantic and forlorn as it searched for a way to get back out into the bigger world it had once “bullied” over. Once it had gone home with my girls though, I didn’t miss it a bit. Good riddance you destructive psycho birdie thug!

Now, I was down to just the pair of cockatiels, two parakeets and 7 finches. I waited to see how the social dynamic would change now that the yellow hooligan was out of the picture…

1 comment:

Ed Abbey said...

I've heard a pellet gun works too.