I was talking to someone yesterday about my old friend Petey the parrot. He was my pet for a couple years when the kids were really little. He was the most obnoxious, loudest, nastiest pet in the world, yet I miss him. Weird.
I had to get rid of him because he hated Sam, (who was about five years old at the time) and would bite him every time Sam got within five feet of him. (We've since learned that all birds hate Sam.) I decided it was time for Petey to go when I was trying to teach him to show dominance over the stupid little tiny bird by getting him to "step up" on a three foot dowel that Sam was holding, thinking that if he got the bird to follow some commands, Petey would start to not hate Sam with such a bloodthirsty vengeance. I was wrong. Petey did step up on the dowel, but then he ran the length of the dowel and before Sam could drop it, Petey bit him on the hand and it was bleeding. That was the last straw.
I put an ad in the paper and sold him to an old lady who thought Petey was darling. I brought the bird and cage over to her house and set things up, all the while the little old lady was poking her fingers at Petey and he was trying his hardest to bite her. She just laughed and thought it was cute and said, "It will take him a while to get used to me." I never checked back with the lady to see how things were going because I'm so afraid that Petey flew onto her back and pecked her to death and then ate her.
Petey really liked me. I know this because when he was sitting on me he would regurgitate which in bird culture means he thought I was A-Number-1. He was desperate for my attention and would make a piercingly loud shriek to get my attention if he even heard me in the house. I read somewhere that to get them to stop making that obnoxious noise, you have to teach them words and then they will use the words instead, (although, now that I really think about it, I think that was children and not parrots) He wasn't all that willing to learn words, but Mitch taught him to say the word "squawk." So when he wasn't actually squawking, he was saying "squawk."
He got away a few times which was not the relief you might think it should have been. He really upped the loud obnoxious squawking when he was scared. He was desperately afraid of nature and heights, which was unfortunate because being a bird, he was jumpy and could fly. If he got startled when he was outside, he would fly off in a panic.
One time he flew into a white pine across the road that is about 100 feet tall. He was almost at the very top. He was squawking like crazy for help but there was no way I was going to climb a hundred foot tree for a mean bird that got on my nerves. So I stood under the tree where he could see me and called to him. I think he knew that I wanted him to fly down to me but he looked at me like, "Are you crazy, woman? I'm not flying down! Look how high I am!" I started to walk away and he squawked for me to wait and then he slowly started climbing down. I was not going to wait the five hours it would have taken for him to climb down so I went in the house. In a panic, he flew out of the tree toward the house, looking down at me, squawking the whole time. Then he flew into the tree right next to the house and screamed and screamed. I went in the house. After two hours of climbing down and screaming, I was at the point of getting the bb gun and putting us both out of our misery when he finally climbed all the way down and walked to the door. I let him in and he walked to his cage and was quiet for the rest of the day.
He's probably still alive because he is supposed to live to be 40. He's only 6. He's still got 34 more years of making his owners miserable.