I have spent the past week pet/house sitting for my cousin, the Pie Lady. I call her that because she makes the best pie I've ever tasted.
The pet sitting part of the deal involves Nala
Nala and Meara are the sweetest dogs and absolutely no problem to take care of.
Sinbad is a completely different story.
Sinbad belongs to my cousin's husband, the Mullet Master and he adores that bird.
The Pie Lady hates him and she calls him “S*#t Bird”
I've never spent any time around Sinbad but I was told that he will bite everyone but the Mullet Master and that he throws his food at the dogs when he's done eating.
That all sounded ok to me – I wasn't going to pet him and I'd pull his food out when he started throwing it so bird sitting shouldn't be too hard.
With the exception of getting his food and water bowls in and out of the cage.
The slide where his bowl is has to have a carabiner on it because he knows how to open the cage. But taking the carabiner off so you can take his bowl in and out is a problem because he might bite you in the process.
So you have to give him a pecan on the other side of his cage and while he's eating that you can open and close the cage.
Not a problem BUT this knowledge didn't prepare me for the noise this bird makes.
I spent the first half hour I was here looking for whatever was beeping only to realize it was him.
And beeping is far from all he does. He says “Hush Meara” a lot even though she doesn't bark much, He talks to himself real quiet and then goes “Ha ha ha” out loud, screams “Liar” anytime a certain political candidate comes on the television, rings his bell whenever you open the door, mimics the microwave and ambulances, roars like a lion, and overall makes one hell of a racket.
The first two days I thought the noises he makes were hysterical but by day five it wasn't so funny any more.
Neither was the fact that he does indeed throw his food at the dogs when he's done eating. As soon as he starts that you have to take his food bowl out or he'll make a big mess.
Because of that you have to feed him before you go anywhere and take the food out when he's done so he can't throw it everywhere while you're gone.
All was going well until Thursday night.
He started throwing his food on the floor so I gave him a pecan to distract him while I took his bowl out. As soon as the door was open he threw the half eaten pecan on the floor and bum rushed the door.
I managed to get it shut just as he got there but then he started pushing on the lock and pecking at my fingers.
I couldn't get the carabiner onto the latch because every time I tried, he tried to bite me. At the same time he's pushing on the door so I've got his food bowl up against the door, holding it closed but have no idea how I'm going to get the 'biner back on.
The last thing I wanted was him loose in the house.
I grabbed the sheet that goes over his cage at night and threw it over the cage thinking that would distract him long enough for me to get the cage locked but that seemed to really make him mad so then he was pecking at the sheet AND pecking at me.
I couldn't get to the phone to call my dad to come up and help me and couldn't lock the cage but I was determined he wasn't getting loose so I stood there with the bowl holding the door shut and trying frantically to clip the 'biner on.
I started trying to reason with the bird, telling him that other birds would love to have a pecan for a treat but he just looked at me with what I can only assume was contempt.
I jiggled the sheet which distracted him just long enough for me to clip the door shut.
Whew! It took 10 minutes but the cage was secure.
I went to bed with him still pecking at the sheet but pretty sure he'd be over it by morning and we could go back to our normal routine.
The next morning I got up, took the sheet off his cage, handed him his pecan so I could put his food bowl back in and change his water but he did it again.
Tossed that pecan on the floor and came after me with a vengeance.
Dad was coming to pick me up so when he got here I told him I needed help with the bird and then told him why.
“What do you want me to do? I'm not getting bit!”
We both stood there looking at the bird trying to figure out what to do and I decided that if Dad held a pecan in a pair of tongs he could distract the bird long enough for me to get his food in and change his water.
Sinbad tried yanking the pecan out of the tongs but Dad wouldn't let go and of course the pecan crumbled.
Dad tried to put the tongs between my hand and bird and the bird tried to destroy the tongs with his beak.
If you're wondering why there are dents in your tongs Pie Lady, there you go.
I finally got his food inside the cage but Dad and I were leaving so I had to leave the food in there while we were gone.
It is amazing how far across the room that bird can throw his food because when I got back there was bird food everywhere.
I handed him his pecan and he sat on that side of the cage, happily eating it – like he's supposed to - while I got the food bowl out.
It took quite a while to clean that mess up.
I can't tell you how bad I wanted to open the cage and the front door and wave goodbye as he flew away but I love the Mullet Master and he loves his bird so I resisted the urge.
I've started giving him banana chips instead of pecans and for now that's working but who knows how long it will last.
I'm beginning to suffer from bird psychosis and frankly my desire to let the bird fly away is starting to overcome my love for the Mullet Master.