Nothing to do with the boat, really, but let’s not ignore my friend Madge.
Magic is my pet cockatiel.
He doesn’t like being confined to a cage and spends much of his time in a cardboard Crinklys box hung up near the ceiling. From his high vantage point, Madge terrorises unsuspecting visitors by swooping down on them and trying to land on their shoulder.
Madge likes being high up and a ten yard dash down the corridor followed by a sharp turn brings him to the top of the study door. From there he can flutter down to his owner’s shoulder and settle down to a nice warm snooze while the internet surfing is going on.
When there is food around, he can barely contain his excitement, running from one shoulder to the other, leaning forward so much he has been known to fall off. His favourites are lettuce, egg, rice and any form of bread. When it is ready for eating, he flies off to his allotted corner of the kitchen to await his share of the bounty.
With only a bird-brain for a brain, what he lacks in intelligence, he makes up for in personality. He’s besotted with the woolly hat I use for a tea cosy and defends it to the last. He’s quite fearless and when the time comes for it to go back in the cupboard, Madge goes on the attack, hissing, beak wide open running around and trying to take a chunk out of any hands that get too close. I know he doesn’t bite and he knows he’s not allowed to bite, but within those limitations he makes as much fuss as he can.
What’s that crest for? Search me. Flat back means he’s either upset or just relaxing. If his crest is sticking straight up, he’s either frightened, annoyed or excited. I guess it’s a cockatiel thing and we humans aren’t supposed to fully understand.
He doesn’t say “pieces of eight” or anything, but he does have a range of chirrups. On top of the snarling, angry display, there’s a “where are you” whistle, a “danger” screech and a “happy” song for when he is rather pleased. He has some “moves”, too, in the form of head bobbing or running round in a little figure of eight pattern while stretching his wings slightly and leaning from one side to the other, which always brings a smile. The head bobbing can be slightly embarrassing if you imagine his owner listening animatedly to Status Quo with Madge on his shoulder.
I have to arrange for a friend to visit while I’m away as Madge would be very unhappy to be confined to a cage now. Although he’s been on his own for increasingly long periods of time, he hasn’t shown any signs of distress. I have thought about taking him with me, but that would involve some cage time, and once free to fly I wonder what he would do. It could work out very well, or it could all go very badly, but unless I get a bigger boat there is not enough room on board so it isn’t an option.