Froley is currently waddling on the newspaper I have surrounding his cage. He pecks at minuscule crumbs that I can’t see and makes contented little chirps every so often, which serve to let me know that the coast is clear and no predators are currently stalking the living room. His feet make actual pitter-patter noises. Seriously, you haven’t heard a pitter or a patter until you’ve heard a cockatiel’s footsteps.
Froley, as you might have expertly sussed out, is my pet cockatiel. He’s a Normal Grey, which some snobby people consider to be the plebeians of cockatiels, but screw that. I’ll have you know that Froley is quite attractive. His face is the nice yellow of legal pads, and his cheeks are the bright red-orange of Pikachu’s cheek pouches. Here is a picture of Froley’s handsomeness.
Gorgeous, isn’t he?
Like all cockatiels, he has a crest that rises and falls depending on his mood. The more alarmed he is, the higher it goes and the skinnier he gets. A relaxed Froley has a relaxed crest.
He’s like a weird mix of a human infant and an elderly man. He needs constant attention and he is really set in his ways. Seriously, he needs a keen eye monitoring him because if you’re not watching his every move he will a) eat something he is not supposed to, b) tear apart the book you have lying around, or c) poop somewhere he wasn’t meant to poop.
He has temper tantrums. If he’s not in the mood to be handled, he’ll open his beak threateningly, prepared to nip at my proffered finger. He’s bitten me before, but he’s never drawn blood. (Because he is a darling angel.)
If his mood swings aren’t enough, I also have to maintain his cage and his food to perfection. He likes to make a mess of his pellets, so in order to counteract this habit, I crush his pellets so he is more inclined to just eat them. He also enjoys it when I rotate his toys out, so he has new, pretty things to look at within his home.
He also can’t control when and where he poops. I always have to be on the alert. I can’t even count the times I’ve sat down on a little homemade Froley surprise. Honestly, bird poop doesn’t even faze me anymore.
Did I mention that he likes to masturbate on an open hand? Put your palm up, fingers spread wide, and he’ll fly right over and start doing his business. Afterwards, he flies off and leaves you to stare at your hand in a well-what-now kind of way.
I titled this piece “The Most Wonderful Bird in the World,” right?
When I wake Froley up in the morning (after he’s done his humongous Morning Poop), he likes to whistle little tunes in my ear. If he spent the night next to my bed, he’ll hop over from his bedtime cage onto my pillow as soon as the sun’s up, climb his way onto my shoulder, and then take a second nap with me as I try to catch up on lost sleep. When he’s ready to wake up for reals, he’ll slide down next to my face and try to preen my eyelashes.
He likes to look at himself in mirrors. When I do my morning ablutions, he sings to himself and to me.
He misses me when I’m gone. He’ll chirp wildly in a panic when he notices me getting ready to leave the house, until I call out to him, telling him that it’s okay and I’ll be right back. And when I open the front door again, he screeches with joy at my return.
He likes being hand-fed certain vegetables. His favorite is Romaine Lettuce. He’ll make little warbles of happiness while he eats if I call him a “pretty bird” encouragingly.
I could go on and on about him.
Froley is the most wonderful bird in the world. He is my soul pet. When he sidles close to my cheek and rests his head there, not so subtly telling me he wants me to scratch his head, I sometimes pause and reflect on how lucky I am to have such a pet. There is so much trust between Froley and me; I forget how astonishing it is to have a bird feel secure enough in your company that he allows you to encircle his fragile, little head within your hand as you cuddle with him just the way he likes. My reflections end as soon as he gets annoyed that I’m not giving him an adequate amount of attention. I return to cuddling him, saying, “Good bird,” all the while praising the stars that he’s alive, and I’m alive, and we’re together.