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Candy Wrapper Games

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Autumnal evenings are when we come out to play. Liam has taken a great shine to Charlie lately, and it's mutual. I'm awfully proud of my boy for having the courage to pet a macaw, and of Charlie for being a gentleman and being affectionate with both Liam and Phoebe. It can so easily be otherwise with older parrots...they'll decide that they love but one person in a household, and nobody else can have much to do with them.

For both Charlie and Chet, anything can become a toy. All you have to do is hold it up high, over your head, and it immediately becomes an object of great desire, whether it's a stick, a tennis ball, a wadded up Kleenex, or a candy wrapper. In this case, it was a Gushers wrapper. Once Chet saw Charlie with the wrapper, he had to have it. There ensued a game of keep-away that kept us amused until well after sundown.
I should lead off by stating for the record that it's generally a bad idea to let dogs play with parrots. It's a rare situation where a dog is trustworthy enough to keep from squishing the parrot. The converse is also true: a macaw's beak can crack a Brazil nut, and you can imagine what it could do to a muzzlepuff. In Charlie's case, we think he got a good nose-nip in on a very curious Chet when Chet was very young. Chet's inquisitive air changed overnight to one of great respect. This established a dominance hierarchy that persists to this day. Chet is playful but extremely respectful of the vise-like grip of Charlie's beak.
The other factor operating is microbiological. Dogs have bacteria in their mouths that aren't found in birds' digestive tracts, and they can cause trouble. It's rare that Chet and Charlie trade saliva; once Chet got the wrapper from Charles, we didn't give it back to the macaw. For now, though, let the Candy Wrapper Games begin! Chet studied Charlie, trying to figure out how best to grab the coveted Gushers wrapper. They both love things that crackle when chewed.Go ahead, you hairy little Mama's boy. Make my day.

Finally, Baker decided a quick grab would net the best results. Do not ask how I got this picture. It just happened.Baker immediately set out on a victory lap. Note t-tail position--straight out. High excitement. A Boston's favorite game is keep-away. They get to show off their blazing speed and agility. Premise: simple. One animal has wrapper, the other tries to get it back. Liam tries to tempt Chet with a chewy stick 0n Charlie's behalf, but Chet's not having it. Baker keeps a wary eye on all of us while gloating over his new toy. He takes stubborn new places. Note Charlie, watching from his perch on my lap.Speaking sternly to Baker just sets off another victory lap. Charlie is crowing like a rooster at this point, thoroughly enjoying the scene of Chet taunting the kids with the coveted wrapper just out of reach.That bird does not need this toy. I need it. And speaking in a stern voice to me won't get you anywhere. You will just have to chase me some more. That's right. Try to catch me.and my favorite shot of the evening:

Oh, just keep it, Baker. It's all slobbery anyway. We'll play with something else until night falls. The heavy steel finial from the chaise lounge should do fine.

It's the little things that are the by Bill Thompson III
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