Words from an Imperfect Parrot Parent – Evil Geniuses
by Lisa Bolstad
Parrots are smarter than most humans. It’s a fact. If you put a typical human in a metal cage with locks on the doors, in most cases the human will rattle around, scream, possibly knock the cage over, but, most assuredly, will remain inside the cage. A parrot, however, will remain in the cage for exactly as long as it likes. At the end of that time, the parrot will find a way out. If you have a parrot that has not found a way out of its cage, this is only because the parrot has not decided it really wants to be out. I’m convinced they are evil geniuses and only allow us to think we are superior because it is convenient for them. When they finally decide to take over the world…well let’s just say a zombie apocalypse might be preferable.
Kwai, a Quaker Parrot, is smarter than most college students, and has better common sense. He not only can say many different things, but takes words from various sentences and mixes them up in a way that still makes sense. For instance, one of his favorite sayings is, “What’s a pig say? Oink! Oink! Oink!” Another is, “You’re a good, good boy! You’re a good, good boy, Kwai!” Sometimes he will mix it up and exclaim, “You’re a pig, pig boy, Kwai!” He’s figured out that this just cracks everybody up and will cackle along with the laughter that comes every time he shouts it.
Cupid, a Green-winged Macaw, has figured out that in order to get onto the kitchen counters, she has only to pull out the lowest drawer, step onto it, pull out the next drawer up, step onto it, and so on until she is on the counter. She can do it so fast now it looks like she’s on a moving escalator. She then has access to loaves of bread, fruit and the jar containing pencils and pens (which she flings across the kitchen one after the other.) I moved the knife block onto a counter with no drawers in the base. The only thing scarier than a perimenopausal woman is a parrot with a butcher knife.
My husband is not the bird person in our house. He prefers dogs, which are obedient, predictable and while intelligent, are not on par with Sherlock Holmes’ famous nemesis, Professor Moriarty. Unfortunately, my poor husband is often the brunt of evil parrot tricks, regardless. His best defense is to ignore them, though this doesn’t always work.
He is a firefighter and his off days often fall during the week when I’m at work. One night when I got home he was fuming at the stove making dinner.
“What’s wrong with you?” I asked.
“That little, blue %#$&*!$% in there!” He pointed toward the family room and Kwai’s cage.
“What happened? Well, he got out of his cage and spent four hours doing whatever the hell he wanted.”
I couldn’t help snickering. “Four hours?”
“Yes! I kept trying to get him back into his cage, but he wasn’t going. So, I opened his door and waited for him to go back in. Four hours later, after trying to land by me and bite my hands, he finally went back in.”
“How did he get out?”
“Through his $#@!%&$ food door.”
I inspected the cage and realized that Kwai had discovered how to move the bar on the outside of the cage that hooked into the food bowl doors. Then he was able to push open the door and escape.
The next day I was sitting in the front room when he flew in from the family room and onto the back of the couch where I was sitting. After some scritches and kisses I took a look at his cage and discovered he’d opened the food bowl door again. Well, I thought, I’ll take care of this! I got a couple of clips and fastened them to the bars under the food and water doors so that they could not be swung open.
After I put Kwai back in his cage I sauntered back into the front room. Nazem, our dog, was lounging on the couch. I plopped down next to him and said, “Well! He won’t be getting out and terrorizing people anymore, will he?”
Nazem gave me a doubtful look just before I heard a loud POP followed by the sound of Kwai’s triumphant squawking as he flew right back into the front room. I stared at him with my mouth open as he landed on the back of the sofa. He continued to screech loudly.
You cannot contain me, inferior human!
I could not believe it. I marched back to his cage to find the clip on the floor and the door open. He had pushed and jiggled the door until it caught on the clip and popped it off. Either that, or he used his magical Quaker powers.
After some time I managed to figure out a way to keep the food and water bowl doors locked in a manner that he was not able to undo. However, he immediately figured out a way to open a small door on the other side of the cage. After consulting the ghost of Houdini, many prison wardens, and Harry Potter, I have finally been able to secure the cage in a manner that completely prevents Kwai from getting out.
The other night, after his cage was covered, I could hear him in there mumbling and moving toys around. I’m pretty sure he’s building a time machine, or some inter-dimensional traveling device that will enable him to appear any place he pleases. I thought I heard him mumble, “Clever pig boy,” under his breath. He’s pretty proud of himself. And I think my husband should be afraid.