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A Puff of Absurdity: For the Love of the Songbirds

Last weekend I went to see the film The Messenger. It’s about the demise of songbirds. It had some amazing shots of birds in flight, and there were really interesting vignettes, but the overall message missed the mark. Standing in line before the sho… . . . → Read More: A Puff of Absurdity: For the Love of the Songbirds

mark a rayner: Happy Yanksgiving!

Alltop prefers roast opossum. Original photo by Doug Brown via Flickr. . . . → Read More: mark a rayner: Happy Yanksgiving! Certifiable

It’s a teeny-tiny backyard, but this year we added six bird feeders, some native plants, a composter, a bird bath and a mister. Now we’ve got a bunch of regulars who visit throughout the day, including cardinals, goldfinches, chickadees, woodpeckers, purple finches, squirrels, chipmunks, butterflies and bees. And we’ve been certified by the . . . → Read More: Certifiable Favourite Field Trip

Last weekend we drove out to Smith Falls to visit the Parrot Partner bird sanctuary in their groovy new digs. Since our last visit, they’ve become a registered charity and they’ve moved out of Judy’s house, which had been taken over by all the parrots she had rescued. You know how it goes. One . . . → Read More: Favourite Field Trip Christmas in May

Parrots are smart. They need plenty of stimulation or their mental health will suffer. Parrots are difficult enough to live with when they’re mentally healthy; you definitely don’t want to push them over the edge. So parrot toys are a necessity. And, since many good parrot toys will quickly be reduced to piles of . . . → Read More: Christmas in May

350 or bust: Saturday At The Movies

Amazing interaction between a wild raven needing help, and a helpful human. What is she saying?

Kazoo is a 16-year-old Double Yellow Headed Amazon parrot. She talks. We don’t always know what she’s saying exactly, but we always know what she means because she’s remarkably expressive.

Take a look at this video and see if you can tell what she’s yelling at the 7-second, 27-second and 37-second marks. This is . . . → Read More: What is she saying?

Bill Longstaff: Save the songbirds—curb your cats

I have always been a dog man myself. Cats … well, they can be cute and cuddly, but whereas dogs seem to belong with us, I have always found cats to be alien if not a little unnerving. Those cold, deadpan eyes seem to send the message that if I was small enough, I would . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: Save the songbirds—curb your cats

350 or bust: Saturday At The Movies

Hummingbirds are amazing – baby ones even more so! Two new birds!

Well, they’re not NEW, exactly. The original lovebirds – Oboe’s parents, Billie and Lester – have moved from GC’s house to mine.

It’s really nice to have them here, and they’re adapting very well. At first they squawked like crazy, and their arrival happened to coincide with the arrival of new next door . . . → Read More: Two new birds! Duncan meets his match

We have a bird perch in the shower – Simon showers with me, Kazoo showers with GC, and Oboe is versatile. Anyway, yesterday, after Simon and I finished our shower, we saw that Duncan was crouched in the doorway looking profoundly disturbed.

A few weeks ago, a hinge for one of the mirrored panels . . . → Read More: Duncan meets his match Diagnosis: Too much freedom

We took Simon to see the avian vet yesterday, to consult about his behaviour problems. She thinks he’s got too much freedom and he’s taking advantage of it. He has overthrown the rulers and seized power! I need to rein him back in, start some daily training and convince him – gently – that I’m […] . . . → Read More: Diagnosis: Too much freedom First week of work, and a psychotic parrot episode

So far at my new job I’ve been immersing myself in reports and files and getting up to speed on the subject matter and my projects. The subject matter is fascinating but the projects are a little intimidating because there are so many, and some of them require skills I’m not sure I have, like […] . . . → Read More: First week of work, and a psychotic parrot episode Simon says hi

Simon has a new word. It’s a little word, and it’s not the most exciting thing a parrot has ever said. But there’s just something about the way he says it…

The word is “Hi.” He says it in the sweetest, friendliest, most enticing voice I’ve ever heard. You can’t hear that kind of . . . → Read More: Simon says hi Ask Me Anything #8: Why Zoom? Why Birds?

MiKa Art asks: “Why is your blog name “zoom”? What does it mean to you? When and how did you find out you loved living with birds?”

As I recall, I was creating an online account somewhere, and I tried the name Sooze but it was taken. I kept adding on to it but . . . → Read More: Ask Me Anything #8: Why Zoom? Why Birds? The Terrible Twos

My son never went through the Terrible Twos. He breezed through two just as sweetly as he breezed through one. He was friendly and agreeable, and we got along happily almost all the time. (He was a very good negotiator though. His second sentence, for example, was “Not yet, soon.”)

He really was a . . . → Read More: The Terrible Twos Only Pets

I still watch the Birds for Sale category on Kijiji, just in case. (In case of what, I’m not really sure. The last thing I need is another bird.) Last night we went to Critter Jungle for dog food, and of course I stopped by the bird section to say hello. Two birds – . . . → Read More: Only Pets Tender Ears and Evil Eyes

Simon has discovered I have ears. I mean, he’s always known I have ears, but he used to think I only had them after a shower, when my hair was wet. Now he has figured out that I always have ears. So 30 or 40 times a day, he flies over, lands on my . . . → Read More: Tender Ears and Evil Eyes First, borrow a kitchen

This is a messy job. I recommend using your boyfriend’s kitchen, especially if he has a Cuisinart and a tendency to clean up after you.

You start with this:

About halfway through, the kitchen will look like this:

And the great big pot will look like this:

When your great . . . → Read More: First, borrow a kitchen We know how to have fun

Here are some of the things we did this weekend:

Spent a day out at Chandler’s, painting and glazing the rest of our pottery pieces.

Went to the International Puppet Festival in Almonte, which features the shortest and best parade ever.

Went to the Garlic Festival in Carp, which proves you . . . → Read More: We know how to have fun Redneck Rib Fest, XUP, and Pottery Camp

We took a whirlwind trip this weekend to Orangeville to meet my newest great-niece, Sienna, and visit with my sister’s family. Is that a cute baby or what? She’s happy and good-natured, too, probably because she’s always surrounded by people who are head-over-heels in love with her. All babies should be so lucky.

A . . . → Read More: Redneck Rib Fest, XUP, and Pottery Camp Happy Second Bird-Day Oboe

I’ve known Oboe since he was a freshly laid egg. He was the third of four eggs in Billie and Lester’s first clutch. We had a webcam on the nest, so everything was broadcast over the internet, from the laying of his egg to its hatching, all the way up through hand-feeding and his . . . → Read More: Happy Second Bird-Day Oboe Simon’s first real conversation


“Wow!” says Simon.

“Wow!” I say.

“Wow!” says Simon.

“Wow!” I say.

“Wow!” says Simon.

“Wow!” I say.

“Wow!” says Simon.

“You’re talking!” I say.

“Wow!” says Simon.

“You’re amazing!” I say.

“Wow!” says Simon.

“I love you!” I say.

“Wow!” says Simon.

“Wow!” I say.

“Wow!” says Simon.

We love this conversation; . . . → Read More: Simon’s first real conversation Simon says!

They say you should never get an African Grey parrot because of their famous speaking abilities. It’s not fair to the parrot, and besides, there’s no guarantee that the African Grey you get will actually talk, unless of course you adopt an already-speaking adult, which is a very good idea.

While African Greys on . . . → Read More: Simon says! Next thing I knew, the duck was mine

Yesterday afternoon I walked right into an unfolding crisis on Fisher Avenue.

The scene, as I approached, involved a man stopping rush-hour traffic while he retrieved an injured duck from the middle of the road. She and her mate had been paddling in a puddle, when a woman passing by with a dog startled . . . → Read More: Next thing I knew, the duck was mine