More Feathers

Remembering Pretty Boy and Printer reminded me of Chloe.  He (funny name for a “he”) was a White-eyed Conure, a pet of John Denver’s.  Yes, the John Denver.  A good friend of mine worked for John and noticed he was getting a little stressed about Chloe, who was a handful.  So Roben offered to empty his hands and was greatly appreciated for doing so.  As time went on, Roben too became a little overwelmed by the fair-feathered Chloe.  She had a large network of friends in the Valley and offered the bothersome but adorable little fellow to any of her friends who wanted him. 

As it turned out, Chloe became a “round robin”.  I’m referring to the old game where something is passed around and around.  I don’t quite remember the objective of it – just the passing around part.  And that’s what we did with Chloe.  He was too time-intensive for anyof us to handle for more than a couple of months.  But we all loved him while we had him and looked forward to his next visit.  Chloe is alive and well today, at the ripe old age of 27!  He’s finally found a permanent home with an older widow who probably feels about him much as my Nana felt about her Pretty Boys.

Chloe never learned to talk, but did he ever have a repertoire of other talents and tricks!  One of the most annoying was his insistence that the entire household wake up when he did – with the birds.  We lived, at this point, with six boys in 1000 square feet of space.  Any bird yelling his head off was going to be heard by everyone.  I tried all the tricks – putting something over his cage so it would be dark untill I removed it, trying to keep him up later at night (that usually worked with kids, but birds must be smarter.  They know when they want to start their day no matter how long they’d been up the day before.)  By the end of several months of having the entire family up at dawn, I was ready for Chloe to move on to his next victims. 

I wasn’t such a wimp that perhaps one obsession of Chloe’s would move me to disinherit him.  But he had a compulsive need to shred paper.  This wasn’t just the old newspaper.  He had a taste for my favorite novel of the moment, my Bible, wrapped presents waiting for the next party, unpaid bills that remained unpaid cause they disappeared into the shredded pile and ended up plunging us into credit check after credit check.  And speaking of checks, those too.  Not to mention paper money.  Not just the boys’ monopoly money, but the real green.  The boys found all this shredding entertaining until Chloe went after their homework.  Too bad we didn’t have Chloe when identity theft became such an issue – we would have had our own shredder for all important documents we didn’t want to throw entact into the trash.  But that wouldn’t have worked, because Chloe was an indiscriminate shredder.

Chloe loved the trash.  He thought he owned it.  When he was picking through it, if anyone got within a couple feet of him, he went balistic – chattering and hacking like someone who just inhaled helium. 

 Chloe’s favorite place for “down time” was under my blouse.  He’d plant a foot on each of the convenient protrusions of a woman’s anatomy and poke his little head out the top of the blouse.  He’d stay there during my housecleaning, bike rides, attempted naps since I was worn out from rising at 6 each morning.  Basically anything I did Chloe was content to stay nestled in my bosom observing.  My husband had real jealousy issues with the bird’s favorite perch. 

Mostly it was sort of sweet having the little feathered appendage to my body peeking out at everything.  Untill he’d decide he wanted to nibble at my earrings or clean my teeth.  That just was a bit over the top, and he’d be banished to his cage.

Chloe had some redeeming qualities.  One was he was potty trained.  I never managed that very well with my kids.  One was four before the bathroom took on any meaningful use other than at bath time.  But when I got Chloe out of his cage first thing in the morning, he’d perch on my finger, I’d take him to the sink, he’d stand on the edge of the garbage disposal and do his thing right down the drain! 

Chloe must have longed for a mate, because he loved the song “Pretty Woman” and would dance all day to that song.  His dancing was hysterical – always good for a laugh.  He’d move up and down to the music.  But the way it looked was as though the feathers sort of stayed still and something inside was going up and down.  Every now and then he’d nod his head to the right and left or get it going up and down.  But he was always right with the beat.  This was somewhat of a compensation for his not talking.

Chloe also liked to perch on my finger and be held up-side down.  That was a good party trick when we had people over.  Another people-pleaser was watching him clean the wiskers of the dogs.  He’d perch on their heads or on the floor when they were reclining there and just draw those wiskers right through his beak.  It must have not hurt, because he never got his head bit off.

In thinking about birds, it’s amazing how many things come to my mind about these precious fluttering fellows.  We once had a golden eagle perching on the old telephone wire poles around our ranch.  One day I saw a dozen or so cars at the end of our long driveway.  It was a dirt, almost one-lane country road with little traffic.  I was concerned there had been an accident.  But instead they’d all collected there to watch the giant eagle perched by the road.  I’d spend hours watching, waiting for him to fly from wherever he was perched.  He was nothing to look at while still, but when he took to flight, the sun would glow through his feathers.  It looked as though his wings were crafted with golden coins.  It was a marvel to watch.  One of my sons was sitting outside by our little pond and watched the great bird swoop to the water and capture a snake in his beak.  Astonishing!

Another family legend involved a young hoot owl.

We came home late one night and saw something laying in the driveway.  We stopped and found an injured hoot owl.  He’d been shot in the wing.  We were outraged and cared for him until the next day when we got him to the vet.  They were wonderful with him, and he recovered from his wound.  They always let us visit him during the recovery process and actually named him after us – Koski.  He finally was fit enough to be reintroduced into the wild.  So the wild-life rescue group was working with him, re-teaching him to fly.  After one such exercise, he dropped dead.  It happened that a blood clot had formed in the injured wing and broke lose.  We came in to visit him, not knowing this had happened.  The vet took us to the back  where Koski lived and to our amazement which quickly turned to horror, opened a refrigerator. He was “on ice” waiting to be stuffed and placed in a museum.  It was somewhat traumatic to learn of Koski’s demise in such a way.

As I sit here and consider the birds in my life, I feel as though feathers are dancing in my mind.  It’s a very pleasant sensation that I’m going to go sleep on.  I’ll continue with feathery experiences soon.


This entry was posted on Friday, February 26th, 2010 at 10:29 am and is filed under The Life in Our Lives. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses to “More Feathers”

  1. Tim Randall Says:

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