Yesterday I made my first aviary friend.
He’s a White Belly Caique named Mango. Totally out of my price range! But I work in a pet store, and watched one of the supervisors playing with him. He was so incredibly affectionate, even laying on his back to let her stroke his belly. I couldn’t believe how comfortable he was with her. She plays with him often.
It’s funny, because I used to be sooooooooo uncomfortable with animals. I couldn’t even relate to our family pets, and we didn’t have that many, partially because of me. I just didn’t have that animal gene that most people seemed to possess. When I went to visit friends and family, I was always overwhelmed when their dogs stormed the front door and a chorus of barking greeted me. I would stand still, waiting for them to quieten down and back away, to go on and forget about me. I was sometimes okay with cats, but didn’t encourage them.
Now, working in a pet store has reformed my attitude. Even the biggest dogs don’t bother me– and they’re usually the most gentle. I’ve held snakes, turtles, a hedge hog and even a chameleon! I’ve gotten to hold baby chickens at my friends’ sister’s home, while we were house sitting last Easter while they were on vacation.
I get it now about why people are so pet-crazy. They just give you so much LOVE! They’re playful and full of surprises.
I still don’t have any pets. But I’m starting to wonder if maybe that’s something I’d like to change. I have a feeling it wouldn’t be something traditional, like cats or a dog.
Maybe a bird! On with the story.
A co-worker was working the register and this bird was sitting on his shoulder. I asked if I could hold him.
He hopped right over to me. I was amazed by how quickly I felt a bond!
He felt safe with me, I could tell. And I relaxed immediately. I began by gently petting his back– afraid he would peck me. But he allowed it. After a few minutes, I stopped. He noticed my other hand and stepped onto it, still holding one foot my right hand. He walked up my arm! Which wasn’t easy, because I was wearing a nylon jacket. I didn’t want him to slip, and my co-worker helped get him down safely.
But I still wanted to spend more time with Mango. I asked my co-worker to put him back on my hand. As I gently raised my hand up and down, Mango held on. He liked it!
I noticed myself beginning to talk to him, making a lot of eye contact.
Others were watching us.
Another associate wanted to hold him. Mango went to him briefly.
I looked at him again and offered my hand. He came back!
Before I knew it I was having a full-blown conversation with him.
It was different than anything that’s happened before with dogs or cats. I like holding them, and playing around. I enjoy all of it! But something about my kinship with this bird was entirely different.
What is it about birds?!
I thought about what I had seen the supervisor do, flipping him on his back. I wondered if I could do it.
I decided to go for it and flipped him over easily. He felt safe with me, and laid there. I tickled him a bit.
I was so delighted at this open display of trust!
I righted Mango, and he was biting my hand and my finger at every opportunity. But it didn’t hurt.
It was just playful.
Sadly I had to say goodbye, and my shift ended and I went home.
But a day later I’m still thinking about it, and how happy I felt just connecting with that wonderful little animal.
He’s orange, yellow, white, black and green. I had tried to really notice his patterns so I could describe it, because I knew I’d want to write about it. But I was just too fascinated, caught up in the moment!
Animals really are wonderful.
They open your heart in a way you never thought possible!
I can’t wait till the next time I get to see Mango.