Tag Archives: dinosaurs

Things to know about your companion Pterodactyl (parrot)




Things to know about your companion Pterodactyl parrot:

  1. You will name her a manly name, because the pet store said she was a he. Two years later, it will become obvious that A. He is a she because she is a ringneck and male ringnecks develop, well, a dark black ring of feathers around the neck and there is no ring in sight, and B. She has not developed much of an English vocabulary, which the males are known for. You will continue to call her by her manly name, because it would be weird to change her name now.
  2. When she is a youngster, she will bite your fingers, a lot. This is like taking a wedge-shaped chunk out of your finger with a can opener. You will be mad, and afraid, but you will get over it, because she’s just a baby.
  3. You will let her fly around a lot because it is “natural,” but then end up giving in and getting her wings trimmed because, among other bad behaviors, she chews on the kitchen cabinets and occasionally flies erratically into heads.
  4. You will tear your hair out because a couple of times a year, she goes through a thing where she screams a blood curdling scream many times a day, especially when you’re in your home office on a conference call. She’ll also develop this hissing habit which will drive your hubby crazy and threaten your marriage.
  5. You’ll think this behavior is only affecting your household and sanity, until one summer day you take a walk and hear her screeching from four blocks away.
  6. Even with her wings trimmed, if you let her out for 5 minutes and then get distracted, she will climb up the curtains, over the curtain rod, and onto the top of the refrigeration to chew the kitchen cabinets.
  7. If you give her a tin can to play with, she will stick her head in it and think she is hiding. Also, she will talk with her head in the can, which will make you giggle because it echoes. You will think to yourself, that must be really loud in there, and, does she think it’s funny?
  8. You will know that she thinks some things are funny, because she will often laugh at appropriate (and inappropriate) moments.
  9. If you give her a cardboard box or paper bag, she will be thrilled, and hide in it until she destroys it, but also become very protective of it and try to bite you if you need her to come out.
  10. You will give her every parrot enrichment toy known to man, but she will prefer destroying things (wood, paper) to anything you can come up with.
  11. She will develop an obsession with the kitchen pantry. If you open it up and forget she is out of her cage, she will turn into a raving banshee lunatic and dive into the pantry and then “defend” it and refuse to come out. This is another reason you get her wings trimmed. Once her wings are trimmed, you will mistakenly think you can relax and open the pantry when she is happily playing on top of her cage. Until the evening when you go to dish up the cat and dog food and your foot is suddenly attacked by said banshee. See #2. You will forgive her, though, because she is obviously insane.
  12. You will learn to snuggle and make kissy noises with a parrot, all while keeping one eye open. It constantly occurs to you while you’re smooching the back of her neck and affectionately ruffling her feathers, that you’re kissing a dinosaur, and that it would take approximately 5 seconds for her to send your face into plastic surgery.
  13. If she wants to let herself out of her cage, she can. She just doesn’t bother most of the time. Consider the octopuses who exit their cages at night to snack off the neighboring fish or lobster tanks, only to return to the tank before morning.
  14. You will never learn to outsmart her, because she is as smart as you.
  15. You will realize that you’ve utterly failed this magnificent creature by denying her any sense of natural environment or birdly companionship.
  16. You will try to amend for this for the next 60 years.

Birds Are Dinosaurs

Thought we went extinct, did ya?

Thought we went extinct, did ya?

I’m a big fan of Sy Montgomery. I’ve enjoyed several of her previous books, including Walking with the Great Apes, Journey of the Pink Dolphins, Search for the Golden Moon Bear, and The Good Good Pig. Recently, I picked up Birdology from the library after hearing Sy interviewed on a podcast. I really admire birds, especially corvids and parrots, so I was eager to hear her perspective. Sy has such a fascinating way of drawing us into the unexpected aspects of birds – from those we would assume to be the most ordinary – Chickens (“Birds Are Individuals”), to those that are odd and dangerous – Cassowaries (“Birds Are Dinosaurs”), to those small dynamic blurs – Hummingbirds (“Birds Are Made of Air”).

I remember studying zoology a few years back and reading about Archaeopteryx and I remember learning that birds are actually reptiles. But what struck me last night was that Birds Are Dinosaurs. They are ACTUALLY DINOSAURS. Not in theory, not related to dinosaurs, not just reptiles; they are the descendants of the dinosaurs that we were taught as children had gone extinct! I don’t know if I just wasn’t paying enough attention in zoology or if scientific theory has advanced in this area since 2001, but something about the way that Sy explains it in Birdology makes it very clear: “Today few serious paleontologists question that birds arose from dinosaurs. Increasingly they agree on an even more surprising conclusion: that birds, rather than meriting a separate class, Aves, in the scientific organization of life, should be classed in Reptilia, within the Dinosauria, as the very successful surviving dromaeosaurs.”

No wonder I can’t understand what in the heck is going on with my parrot when she screeches intermittently for days on end. She’s not even the species I thought she was. Apparently, I ‘m living with a Pterodactyl. My mind is blown.