Thursday, July 24, 2008
By Laura Doering, Editor of BIRD TALK and BirdChannel.com
Join in on Laura's fun and experiences of bird ownership, and share in her adventures as the editor of BIRD TALK in Wayward Feathers
Sometimes I wish my birds were more like dogs. I grew up with dogs (our three were relegated to the backyard, but I was constantly sneaking them into the house). The dogs, plain and simple, were quicker to feed. The tastier the item, the faster it went down. My black lab/Great Dane mix, Clarence, would leap in the air and catch a chunk of meat before he hit the ground. Dry dog food stayed around a little longer though. (It must have been the equivalent of Wassa crackers for me; tasteless but if there was absolutely nothing better to eat ...). My birds, on the other hand, take their own sweet time no matter what. I often have to hand-feed most non-seed items to Ollie to get him started, even the food he likes.
I was in a particular rush this morning but didn’t want Ollie to miss out on some of the banana I was slicing up, so I held a small piece up to his beak. He started doing his funky conure head-and-shoulder swaying, his “Well, good morning hot stuff!” come-hither posturing. He then made some pretend bites into the banana slice, opening and closing his beak as if eating, but not eating at all. “Ollie, honey, I got to go!” I said. More pretend eating. It was decision time. Should I leave a bit of banana in his treat bowl in hopes that he’ll eat it? I rolled the dice so to speak and left the banana slice in the bowl and headed out to work. Now, I don’t know if the slice has been sitting in his bowl all day, or if Ollie dug in shortly after I left. It’s hit or miss with him. I do know that the banana slice has about a 75-percent chance of being eaten within 10-15 minutes of going in the bowl. After that, the chances of consumption decrease rapidly. Within a half hour, Ollie has usually decided he’ll pass on the treat. The concerning part is that if Ollie ate only part of that banana slice or none at all, I might very well come home to a trail of ants marching one by one up to his treat bowl. That’s what happened last week with the dried papaya bits that Ollie moistened in his water bowl.
My rabbit gets a bit of banana as a treat, too, but he is a dedicated banana eater. Although rabbits are grazers and, therefore, chew each bite thoroughly, I can guarantee that there will be no banana remnants in Mr. Bunz’s bowl. That bunny lives for his occasional banana treat. He’d rather I just drop it in his bowl and step away. Not Ollie. For him, a treat offering is a social occasion, a regular ice cream social if you will. This is all good and fine on weekends, but not during morning rush hour.
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