Friday, July 07, 2006


Field Trip

Since beginning work as a BIRD TALK intern, I've been eager to get some hands-on experience with pet birds and after today, I'm convinced I need a bird of my own - maybe. The BT editors and I visited Omar's Exotic Birds store, and I finally got to pet and hold a few birds, my first time doing so since high school.

I'm sure I had a smile glued to my face as I watched two baby green-cheeked conures preen each other while the third one on the perch slept peacefully. I made it obvious I'm an amateur when it comes to birds when I called out, pointed, laughed and made a scene about the cutest Senegal as it shimmied its way to the bottom of the stand, hanging upside down along the way. The Senegal then playfully rolled onto its back. Ready for a belly rub? I'm still smiling at the sight of that.

Each time I passed the lone Indian ringneck, I was amazed it was still vigorously chewing its toy. While I stood watching one of the African greys climb to the top of its playstand, my wishful thinking has me convinced that it mimicked me when I said "Hi," although the sound was unclear and could have been just a noise. Once the grey lost interest in me, I moved onto the toucan in the cage beside me, which I somehow almost missed. Bright colors attract me, and I was fascinated by the intense yellowish-orange and indigo colors around the toucan's eyes. I watched closely as the toucan hopped in place on a perch then jumped down and around the cage. Editors Melissa and Rose stood at a distance letting me have my fun but hoping I knew enough to refrain from poking my finger inside the cage.

After I oohed and awed at all the birds, I mustered the courage to try to get a bird to step up onto my hand. The courage was needed not because I lacked the confidence or desire; rather I was worried I'd make a wrong move in trying to hold the birds, harming them somehow, and I was surrounded by the BT editors, who I wouldn't want to disappoint. The recently awoken 4-month old jenday conures struck my interest, and they had a field day beaking at my hand when I offered it for them to step up onto.

By the time one of the jendays was perched on my hand, I realized it was time to return to work, but it was difficult parting with all the birds. I realize my sole trip to Omar's was hardly an appetizer for what would come with owning a bird. I think I'm hooked, however, and even if I'm not ready for a bird of my own, I know I'll be visiting those at the store more often.


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