She called out with great fury warning all who could here her. Eyes pinning, Racoon Warning Alarm System on full blast pealing paint of the walls, Butters let her beak direct dad to the invading racoon and the worst of it.
I shall name him Vincenzo, after an infamous but not famous jewel thief. Vincenzo stole one egg while Marie hollered and the flock assembled for defensive means. But it was too late. Vincenzo knew were the gems were now. That night he returned and ransacked the rest of the nest. Marie was left with dry empty egg shells the following morning, and a forced decision to nest elsewhere.
I knew we were going to have to deal with this guy sooner or later. Angus and I met him a week ago in the dark, behind the house while Angus took his last sabbatical for the day. Vincenzo saw Angus first, but not first enough. I was dragged twenty feet while Angus introduced himself by chasing Vincenzo up the tallest punk tree. I'm sure the neighbors enjoyed the billowing barks at 10:30 at night.
I know I thoroughly enjoyed skiing behind a 50 pound bolting dog. That was invigorating. I wasn't partial to the face full of Spanish moss and probable baby spiders in my face at the end of the run. But beggars can't be choosers.
You know the first 15 minutes of cleaning cages where you are moving parrots to temporary quarters and dismantling toys, cages, and tree stands? In those first 15 minutes, where you only see the work ahead, and no end yet, the mind wanders. What am I doing here? Is this my life? Am I crazy? I could be (insert awesome liberating hobby here). This will never end. This will not stay clean after we're done. WOW! There's alot of space in this house when there isn't bird cages. I could have a beautiful book shelf there. Oh! I can see out my windows that have become macaw viewing windows. Wow. Those are great views. Bird poop looks like chalk drawings around dead furniture bodies.
As those thoughts continue, the driveway becomes filled with parrot paraphernalia. This is a four car driveway area being taken up quickly. This is industrial cleaning. But that's Cali's burden. Mine is in the house. Sweeping, vacuuming, mopping, wall washing, dusting and mopping more. And so you stand there at minute 14 gut checking this whole obsession. And one lone voice from a bedroom cage brought downstairs for a temporary cage calls out, "Hi!"
It's the Hi she uses when she's nervous. It really has a question mark behind it. I take Butters out and love on her, sniff or feathers, preen her, receive her kisses and rub her belly. Felix shouts, "It's all right!", and chuckles. I give Butters a cashew, and place her back into her bedroom cage next to Snickers' cage. I give Snickers a cashew. "HUH?" He's always shocked when I give out cashews.
I give every bird a cashew, including the Horde and take a minute to reset my brain. This isn't a bunch of nonsense work. This is flocking. Sometimes it's hard, sometimes it's easy. But like Felix said, it's all right.
Minute 16 of cage cleaning day is great.