Friday, August 8, 2014

To be Free

I don't know if I've ever talked about Peapod on here. It could be because i'm not an advocate of owning a bird and my little girl is super duper cute. I don't want to encourage anyone to get themselves one. If you check out the picture below, she's eating a strawberry. Do you see how she is about half the size of that strawberry? She's very small, considered the smallest parrot in the world.

In Phoenix I volunteered for a wonderful bird shelter. They took in the birds no one wanted or the saddest of all, the birds that had lost their human through death. The bigger birds can live upwards to 80 years some even documented to have lived over a hundred years.

It was heart rending working in the volunteer shelter. Birds are being bought at a rapid rate and because of their extreme intelligence and their very rocky teenage years. Given up almost as fast as they are bought. It wasn't unusual to meet a cockatoo like Rosie. Cockatoos are ear piercingly, heart pounding loud (I had to wear ear plugs and most owners of cockatoos have some hearing loss). They are also the biggest cuddle butts ever, they would crawl into your skin if they could. And Oh my God are they smart, easily as smart as a 6 year old. So Rosie as cockatoo's do, screamed. When she was rescued she had been put in a dark closet for years. When her owner got really angry with her he would burn her with a cigarette and beat her with a broom. To the day I left she could never be alone as she not only pulled her feathers she chewed her skin open on her chest. She also could not see a broom without absolutely freaking out. She is not atypical.

I watched birds die from depression. There was a female Eclectus I fell in love with a month into volunteering. She was so sad, she had been given up by a man who decided he wanted a male Eclectus versus a female one. I tried to coach her out of her depression but she never moved, she sat there with dead vacant eyes and one day we found her at the bottom of her cage. She had given up, what was the point anymore.

The macaws would beg for attention, hell they all did. "Hello! Johnny?! Joohhnnnyyyy! Come here! I'm a gooood boy, GOOOODDD BOY....I'm a bad BAD boy....." And no matter how much you tried you just couldn't give them enough attention. The up keep alone was almost impossible. Let alone spending time with every single parrot. I'll never forget the little cockatoo that would see me and put his wings out and start singing the Batman song. Everyone was stunned the first time he did it and it was only when I walked in. "Doo dododododo BATMAN!" dancing cockatoo happy to see me. Sometimes they would pick who they loved and he picked me. I couldn't do it, I just couldn't. I knew he'd outlive me and the thought was horrifying.

I finally had to leave, I swear to you I was getting something close to PTSD. That's how most volunteers at a bird shelter are. There are not a lot of happy endings at bird shelters. Mostly just people who tried to accept their new charge would always be seriously fucked up. But alas usually to much to handle. The short time I was there we saw one little boy cockatoo go to three different homes and come back. Once again rejected by someone who said they would love them for life.

As I sit here with Peapod, she's hanging upside down trying to chew on my laptop (three cords and counting). I want to leave a message. Don't buy a bird, just don't do it. Be an advocate for the ones who need help. Birds are not meant to be pets. They are not domesticated and birds are extremely smart. Parrotlets like Peapod name each other. "Hey Jack, thats a rock!" Each parrotlet in a flock will have their own unique name. My family figured out my name within two months of us adopting (Parrotlets only have a twenty year life span and when I got her, more than likely only ten more years on this planet. I felt reasonably confident i'd survive her but even if I don't she is willed to Dylan who loves her dearly) Peapod.

Hi, I'm Ribbit, nice to meet you all. When I went camping this last weekend the frogs at night stressed me out. It sounded like Peapod calling to me all night long. The bigger birds are even smarter than that. Essentially we are putting children in cages.

I can tell you one thing I learned from my time volunteering. The human race does not impress me, actually i'm ashamed to be a human. I wish humans would wake up and see the total devastation we do to other sentient beings. They don't deserve this, they should be the beauty that this world holds. A awe inspiring moment that is seen far off on a beautiful sunny day. Instead they sit in cages, sad, abused, wondering what they did, calling to loved ones who gave them up because they are going to have a baby. Desperate for attention, plucking their feathers out of boredom and stress. Wing feathers cut so they can't fly. Begging us with our own words. "Come mere, I'm a goooooood boy. Cookie?" What if I sing to you will you love me then? "Dodododoodoooo BATMAN!!"