Here's the Bird. No known name. An Indian
Ringneck Parakeet. Pound for pound the loudest of God's creatures. She sits in
a cage about 3½ feet behind my head, as I write. Her cries are physically
painful to me, an old animal with zero effective hearing above 3800 Hz. Imagine
what it must be like for an animal with sensitive ears. Ouch.
to us like many of our animals did: dropped by and stayed. One day I heard a screeching
in back of the house. There she was, sitting on a wire. She had three routines:
the "charge" as in football cheers; the wolf whistle; the attention
whistle. Plus all the incoherent caterwauling you could put up with. I taught
her the Woody Woodpecker.
Over the years she has lost the trained calls,
since we neglected to reinforce them. Her forte, since she spent so much time
alone in the house with them, is dog barks. They start in our house or in the
neighbors', and she pitches right in. She also has a good raven to dish up on
Last year at this time she got into one of her affectionate
periods, and on a hunch I put a box in the cage, a box with a little hole she
could just squeeze in and out through. She spent most of the next three weeks
in there. When it finally came time to clean the cage, I found eight eggs in what
passed for a nest, made of shredded paper, and feathers. Until then I had only
an inkling that she was a female
I have let her escape several times,
accidentally. She flies away and out of sight, but if I leave her cage outside
with the doors open, pretty soon she comes home. Always a disappointment. Her
record for length of adventure is just more than three weeks. That time I was
deciding to fold up and store the cage when she showed up, bedraggled and hungry.
Shortly thereafter we bought her a cage of about three times the volume.
the notorious "Cedar" fire of 2003 we were forced to evacuate and seek
cleaner air. Getting the Bird into the small cage was easier than reassembling
it. When the air at our retreat got too bad, we took the caged bird into the house.
Then we got instructions to prepare for evacuation from there, so it was back
into the truck. False alarm, it turned out. Once we were able to return to our
home, she climbed eagerly back into the large cage.
picture at the top of the page is of a male. They have the pronounced ring that
gives the species its name. There is an inflight photo (two, actually):