Friday, May 9, 2008

Einstein's Tribute to Mother's Day

Mother's are truly wonderful!

I didn't get to know my Mother very well because I was taken from her at a very early age so that I would form a bond with humans. What I do know is that her name was "Smokey", she was a very good talker and very beautiful. She was a television star too! She was in the "Salty Dog" episode of the children's television series Wishbone.  You can watch the show on YouTube. (Be sure and watch part 1 and 2)

She mostly rode around on the shoulder of a pirate.
She did a great job! Yea! MOM!

"Captain Flint", played by Smokey the Parrot on the shoulder of
"Long John Silver", played by actor, Sean Hennigan.
I don't call Marcia "Mom", because she's not my Mom. She's my human! She certainly didn't HATCH me!!! Just the mental picture of that makes me laugh hysterically!!!!!
She does take good care of me, and for that, I am very grateful! So, there needs to be a Happy Human's Day! For all those humans who take care of all the pets in the world!

In closing this tribute to Mom's everywhere, I'd like you to listen to a broadcast NPR did a few years ago titled,
"My Mother, My Parrot".
It's very touching and you might need a tissue. (Marcia did!)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Einstein’s Road Trip

I like to travel in car with Marcia and Jeff. They often take me for car rides just around the neighborhood and to visit friends. Recently they decided to take me along on a trip to Austin Texas, about 3 ½ half hours away. They have friends in Austin and we were invited to a Party!
I Love to Party!!!
Here I an all loaded up in the car, ready to go! Jeff has my cage level and strapped in with bungee cords. Marcia has packed all the food and water I’ll need for the whole trip. She’s prepared for anything I might need. She says it’s like packing a baby for a trip. Here’s a list of what I require!
Paper Towels
Bird Safe Cleaning Solutions
Cage Cover
Plastic (to protect floor)
Newspaper (to poop on)
Floor perch
Pizza Pan Perch
Sleeping perch from big cage
Ceramic Food Dish
Toys – (Can’t leave home with out ‘em!)
Food- Pellets, Frozen Bean/Grain Mixtures, Birdie Muffins, Treats
Round Play Perch
Stainless Steel Food Bowls for perch
Bowls for Travel cage

WOW! That’s a lot of stuff for a 1 pound bird!!! Where are Marcia and Jeff going to put all their clothes and stuff they need for the trip? Oh! Well! Not My Problem!!!!

Jeff is a good driver and if he anticipates having to put on the breaks hard or goes over a bump in the road… He will tell me, “Hold On”. I really appreciate that!
One time he was passing another car on the road. The other driver moved over to allow him to pass which was really nice. As Jeff drove passed he waved his hand at the driver as if to say “Thanks”. Well, I saw him do this and I said “Shake! Shake!” That must have been funny because Marcia and Jeff laughed at me and told me what a smart bird I was!

We arrive in Austin at our friend’s home. I quickly make myself at home.

Here I am on the counter getting hand fed...

and then I got to play on the floor with my toys.

Later that evening we all went to a party at another friend’s house. I had dinner in my cage and I had to stay in my cage most of the evening. I didn’t mind because Jeff and Marcia were busy talking with all their friends. I was never too far away from the “action” and I even talked a little! Making everybody laugh!

Our friends have a beautiful cat that came to join the fun later in the evening. I never met a cat before. So very carefully we were introduced.

"Puddin, meet Einstein. Einstein, this is Puddin.” Puddin was very nice, but kind of scared. Puddin didn’t stay around very long.

The party was fun and the next day after breakfast we left our friend’s house and headed for Marble Falls Texas / Lake LBJ. Marcia’s brother has a vacation home on Lake LBJ, which is about an hours drive from Austin. I’ve been to this house many times before. It has always been a vacation place for the family.

It’s fun to sit outside on the back porch.
(If I’m ever outside, I’m ALWAYS in my cage! It’s a rule! No exceptions!)

I watch the ducks play in the water.
Boats go up and down the Lake, (they make a lot of noise!)

The birds sing songs in the trees. There is a cool breeze and it’s so relaxing!
Inside the house I can perch, eat, and play on my round play perch.
Jeff made me this perch a long time ago when I was adopted by Jeff and Marcia. It’s really a neat perch. Great for travel because is breaks down into 2 parts. The bottom is just an unfinished wooded bar stool with wheels on the legs. The top is a VERY BIG plastic plant saucer. Jeff bolted some perches to it and Marcia found this cool toy hook and Volia! (By the way, the toy hook was made by a company that is no longer in business. So please don’t ask me where you can get one, they just aren’t available anywhere, a fact that makes Marcia sad!)

That night Jeff and Marcia went out to dinner and I stayed at the house and had dinner in my cage. They did bring me home a “Birdie Bag”. It was a yummy piece of Corn Bread from the “Jammin’ House Cafe”. If you’re ever in Marble Falls, it’s a great restaurant for Caribbean Food! Yea! Mon!
Ahhhh! What a nice time we all had! The next day we packed up and headed back home. I hope you enjoyed reading about my Road Trip. Maybe I’ll see ya around?

Einstein's Relationship with the Towel

When Einstein was young (about 2 years old) she was occasionally belligerent with me. (For example, wouldn't get on my hand when I repeatedly asked her to.) I would say to her, "Want me to get the towel?" I would then go get a particular blue towel, wrap her up and physically remove her and place her where I wanted her to go. In 1999 we were not familiar with positive reinforcement training. We used the towel to coerce her to step up. She hated it!

Then it came to pass that all I had to do was just ask her, "Do you want me to go get the towel?" and she would immediately comply to my wishes. No toweling necessary. I don't take this approach any longer, but now, sometimes when she is asking for something... and if I don't respond to her immediate demand... She will say to me..., "Want me to get the TOWEL!!!!"

Aside from the humor, quickly we learned this was not the right thing to do! Not only did it make her scared of the towel, it also made her distrust us. We learned our lesson! We began using positive reinforcement and offering treats when she would not step up for us. She did forgive us, and our relationship has mended. However, we are still working with her to feel comfortable being toweled. Parronts do make mistakes and I will forever regret making this one.

Moral of this story: If you own a parrot, please learn all you can about Positive Reinforcement Training!