The Cockatoo who was Afraid of Brooms

Fear of objects is simply a parrot who hasn't decided what the object can do for them.

The Cockatoo who was Afraid of Brooms

Rocky dumped his food dish last night. No more Food Network for him! He's taking the critics' comments too much to heart. So I went to get the broom to clean it up, which is usually a matter of my constantly reassuring him that "Mama's cleaning up your mess!" and lots of reassurances that he's a good boy and "Mama LOVES Rocky Too!" so he'll stay calm while the Terrifying Thing is nearby. A broom that's sweeping is scary and he usually gets as far from it as he can, crest up and trembling. A broom you're just carrying is terrifying and he goes into full display and sometimes even Car Alarm.

Or rather, he USED to do that. 

Last night, I came back with the broom, the same broom that caused a full-on meltdown fit when I brought it home from the store last summer, and I carefully carried it in the upright sweeping position as Rocky taught me to, because carrying a broom horizontally turns it into more of a parrot-eating monster than it is upright. But when I approached his cage, with the broom upright, Rocky reached out and took it away from me. Grabbed it by the top with his beak, wrapped his foot around the handle, and refused to give it back. Huh? I was so stunned I let go of it and stared. Completely calm and with an evil twinkle in those black eyes, because he'd successfully relieved me of an item he wanted, Rocky proceeded to chew on and examine the broom handle for a good 15 minutes. When I recovered my wits, I asked for it back and he wouldn't give it back. I tried to trade for one of his toys and he didn't want to trade. I offered a treat and he didn't want a treat. He wanted the broom. And he kept the broom until he'd made his point and then he let go of it and it fell with a loud noise, and loud noises usually bring up the crest, but it didn't this time. He merely peered at the prone broom and then looked at me (in triumph) like, "Okay, Mom, you can have it back." I went and got it and swept up the mess and he sat on his door, inches from me and the broom, and preened his feet, entirely at ease and unconcerned. If he knew how to shrug, he probably would have done that. 

Mind you, I had gotten the alarmed reaction just the previous night when I did the usual cleaning, complete with the upraised crest and the reassurances that I was "just cleaning up," said in my most chipper, "nothing to see HERE" tone. What changed in 24 hours? I have no idea. But this is Rocky's usual modus operandi of late. He will make up his mind to accept a thing or do a thing that previous terrified him, just like that, and we humans are expected to absorb the new Way It Is and not ask a lot of silly questions. The play stand terrified him … and then it didn't and it became Rocky's Territory. Red Solo Cups terrified him … and then they didn't, when he decided they were fun to destroy and to throw at the dogs and us. Now, the broom used to terrify him and … now it doesn't. It's a game to take it away from Mommy and make her beg for it. 

Last night he climbed up to my shoulder, which makes me a little uneasy as the mom of a Quaker parrot who chomps ears, and then he went behind my head and there he sat, while I put away my flute, walked around the house a bit, discussed dinner with Hubby, all with a Too on my back, a Too who did not chomp or act a bit afraid of anything I was doing, and when he tired of that, walked down my arm as pretty as you please and climbed onto his door.

Share this post