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Monday, August 3, 2009
Ollie Abstract #1

By Laura Doering
Join in on Laura's fun and experiences of bird ownership, and share in her adventures as the editor of BIRD TALK, the world’s most widely read pet bird magazine, in Wayward Feathers.

Ollie's creation during an afternoon activity at Camp Birdie
Click on image to enlarge
Ollie's masterpiece for Camp Birdie.

I gathered up some bird-safe paint, paper and the flock for an “art workshop” … yes, foot painting was on the Camp Birdie activity board! I had visions of avian-human collaboration – working in unison to create a formable piece of art. All I needed was a bird to cooperate.

Ollie was my go-to bird. I just needed him to walk through the small smear of paint and then across the paper, creating little birdie tracks in his wake. Instead, he bypassed the paint, walked half way across the paper and then flew up onto my arm. We did this about 10 times before I had the bright idea of coloring my entire index finger with the paint. I’d have Ollie step up onto to it and then ask him to step down onto the paper.

Part of this worked; Ollie obligingly stepped onto the paint but when it came to walking across the canvas, he took a detour and flew onto my shoulder. (Good thing this was non-staining, washable paint). Pretty soon, my arm and shirt were looking more like art than the paper. I swear he was trying to make me into a walking canvas.

Finally, Ollie settled in enough to lay down some tracks. He seemed to be enjoying this one-on-one time; by the time we tried our third color (orange), he stood on the middle of the paper and rocked his upper body back and forth … if only he moved his feet to his own groove, there would have been more going on. Then again, Ollie has always been somewhat of a minimalist. He only demolishes toys if I present one at a time; if I add two, he’ll ignore them both … but add one, and it gets his full attention. And he tends to eat one food item at a time, no mixing it when it comes to mixes.

He let me lift one foot and then the other to run it under water, which was totally tender and a step in the right direction for letting me touch his feet to groom his toenails.

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Ollie Abstract #1

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Reader Comments
Sounds like a really "neat" idea. I'm trying to envision my white Umbrella Cockatoo doing this. I got a drop of blood on his back once from a broken feather I found on him and it took months to get the stain off. So, are you nuts?
Charles, Orlando, FL
Posted: 8/4/2009 7:24:01 AM
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