The flutter of wings in my house can only mean one thing.
|A photo of Bella, my Cockatiel
1. Meet Bella
The sound of wings can only mean one thing. I duck, as Bella sweeps past my head, wings outstretched. The tips of her primary feathers clip me on the side of the head as she passes. One swift turn, and she is once again flying at me. This time she is right on the mark, and she lands neatly on top of my head. Her claws, which need to be trimmed, dig briefly into my scalp before she adjusts herself and shifts her weight. A brief rest and she is moving again, climbing down the side of my head. She is gripping the arm of my glasses with her beak, while one foot reaches down, and probes for footing, smacking my ear a few times with her toes. Eventually, her foot finds my shoulder and she slides down neatly to rest comfortably.
She wants attention, and she nibbles on my cheek a few times. When I turn to look at her, she plants a kiss and then puts her head down. It's Cockatiel language for "please scratch my head", and I oblige for a moment or two. I return to writing, and she continues to nibble on my shirt. Eventually, she becomes bored, and goes back to preening her feathers. She is becoming sleepy, and soon I will hear the sound of beak-grinding as she drifts off. Beak grinding means contentment and relaxation, and every time she does it right in my ear I am flattered that she trusts me enough to fall asleep on my shoulder.
Normally, her next step would be to slide down my arm. She would then wander around my desk, stopping to peck random keys, and possibly ride around on top of the mouse. Sometimes she slips behind the monitor, so that all I can see is her tail sticking out. She enjoys rolling pens around and nibbling on post-it notes. I shudder to think of what would happen if she discovered how to use 'advance' button on the post-it dispenser.
Luckily, at this moment my little cuddle-bug is secure and warm, and she drifts to sleep. Inevitably, I will have to get up from my chair without waking her first. I will then be scolded as a rudely awakened Cockatiel wobbles on my shoulder. If she is very tired, she will squeak at me as I gently lift her up and place her on perch, to continue her nap in comfort. As my father likes to say, she is a good bird when she is asleep. The rest of the time, you can expect trouble.
2. Bella, the Ground-Bird