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The Bird's Word

The Bird's Word

Playing with Toys

Posted by Cindy on March 23, 2014 at 2:05 PM

Over the last several years, I've run the gamut from few toys to enough toys to keep an entire flock busy. Both extremes are no good. Not enough toys, and I spend my extra time counting feathers. If you think that's fun, try counting your hair. I kept losing my count, and then I had to start over. After the first dozen times, that becomes boring. With too many toys, my apartment gets too crowded, and that's no fun, either. A bird needs some room to stretch.  Right now, I have a good number.

For my first toy, I have a tube bell. These are pretty nice. Mine is a lovely blue color (yes, parrots do see colors) with nice, little white and black speckles. Tube bells are different from the usual bells. Instead of a big trapezoid or sphere, the tube bell is shaped like my oatmeal boxes, but a lot smaller and not shreddable. The clangy part of the bell is deep inside the tube. I can't get to it no matter how hard I try. You might think that would make me mad, but it's a good idea, actually. I'm not dumb enough to do it, but I have met some other parrots, who were a few seeds short of a food bowl, almost choke themselves when that clangy piece comes loose.  That's no threat to me, though. I can play as hard as I want! The clangy part won't come loose and try to kill me.

I have another toy.  It once had a bunch of wooden pieces on a white string. I chewed my way through the string and the wooden pieces made a terrific noise on the floor of my apartment. My human strung the pieces back up, but she used this not-fun brown string. It's bristly, which scratches the bare skin of my face. I'm waiting for my human to fix it before I play with it some more.

My third toy is a group of knotted strings. I can chew the strings and untie the knots. Sometimes, my human ties the strings back on after I pull them apart. Sometimes, she doesn't.  I think she's afraid I'll try to make another anklet out of it, but I've learned that lesson. Still, I don't want to risk any more strings coming alive and trying to remove my foot, so taking the shredded ropes out is probably a good idea.

Those are all my permanent toys. I also get a few temporary toys. One is a nut. You might not think a nut is food, but you're only half right. Before it's food, it's a toy to toss around or to use for a preening aid. Same thing with crackers and seed biscuits, but don't try that with your veggies. You'll make a mess of your feathers.

Another temporary toy is actually a game I play with my human. She does Hide and Seek with my food by wrapping paper around seed biscuits.  I get to tear the paper apart and eat the food inside. Fun!... unless you're starving because you haven't eaten in two entire hours. Then having to forage for your food is annoying.

My favorite temporary toy is an oatmeal box.  You have no idea how much fun there is in shredding an oatmeal box down to a pile of cardboard confetti. The best part is to focus your shredding efforts on the part of the box where the chain goes through. If you make that big enough, the box makes great noise when it hits the floor of the cage. Unfortunately, once the box falls, I have to wait for my human to put the box back up so I can get back to chewing like a cardboard shredding machine.

In addition to permanent and temporary toys, there are also some special toys that I only get sometimes. Birds don't have holidays, but my human graciously includes me in her celebrations. A few times a year, I get a toy hidden inside some food. The food -- seeds, pellets, and other stuff -- is glued to a stick. So I have to eat my way to the toy before I shred the stick into little pieces. Very, very fun!

Those are all my toys. How about you tell me about your toys?

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