Friday, November 30, 2007
My Life With Pet Birds
By Melissa L. Kauffman, Editorial Director BIRD TALK and BirdChannel.com
Share in the adventures of Melissa Kauffman's experiences in bird ownership in Life in the Bird House
I am the editorial director for a company that publishes pet magazines, and I have a dog, two birds and a guinea pig. My friends think my life is strange. I don’t know about that, I believe everyone’s life is a little different. On some days my job is stressful, on other days it is fun. The subject is fun, the day-to-day is more stressful. Like the other night. Birds USA was being prepared to go to press. Laura Doering, the editor, asked me to take a look at the medical article before I left. I was in meetings all day so I couldn’t start to look at it until after 6PM. Finally, after most of the department went home, I went out to the row of shared Macs and pulled up the medical article on the computer. It was short half a page, and all the disease names had to be formatted so they could be more easily read. I also needed to italicize all the genus names. Oh goody. So I sat down and started to work.
A little bit later, WildBird magazine’s editor sat down beside me. She was also on print deadline. She starts showing me pictures of cute little tufted titmice. That got me onto a tangent about what wild birds make a good cover. It is tougher than you think, because all the backgrounds are green or blue and so are the birds. Suffice it to say, by the time I got out of there and got home it was 9PM.
I walked into the house. One of the cockatiels called out a greeting from the bird room, a.k.a my office. I couldn’t tell which one. You’d think after more than 15 years with them, I could tell which one called out; they both sound different to me. But I couldn’t, and I now can’t even guess. Natty is more likely to call for me because he wants some food, but Carlisle is more likely to call out just to say, “Hi.” So, in the end, one of them called out to me. I yelled, “Hi.”
Our dog, Sprey, got out from under the dining room table and came over to say hello. She definitely doesn’t just want to say “Hi.” She sees me and thinks either “food” or “walk.” I asked my husband if he fed her because of her enthusiastic welcome. He said he had, so she must have wanted to go outside. I changed my clothes, grabbed some food and went to the bird room and hung out for a little. After I finished eating, I cleaned the guinea pig cage out and gave the birds and guinea pig fresh water.
Sprey came to the door of the room and stared me down. I put on shoes and outdoor wear, and then decided to take Jack the guinea pig with us. I turned his igloo upside down, put a towel in it and carried him with me. We walked for about 20 minutes, and I’m sure I looked strange carrying a guinea pig. When I came back in the house, I walked back into the bird room to put Jack back in his cage. I started to unwind my long scarf when Natty shrieked and flew at me. (Perhaps he thought the scarf was a snake?). I had to call my husband to come get Natty and then I left the room to remove the scarf from around my throat. By this time it was bed time, so I prepared the birds and guinea pig for bed by freshening up their bedding. Then I went to bed.
With all the lights out, I can still hear one of the cockatiels knocking his bells around and chirping. This time I knew who it was – Carlisle. Unlike many birds, he has no problem making noise when it is pitch dark. I said to my husband,” Hey, that reminds me of something I read today.” “I am trying to sleep,” he muttered. “Uh, huh,” I said, “Do you hear how Carlisle is still noisy although it is dark? Most parrots are quiet at night except for cockatoos, and since cockatiels are related to cockatoos ...” My husband didn’t think it was interesting enough to lose sleep over, but I stayed awake a little longer to see how long Carlisle would make noise. I don’t find my life strange in the least, I find it interesting.
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My Life With Pet Birds