Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Parrots of Phinney Hill (Keep Calm, Birders, Not Ones for the Life List)

There's nothing like taking your dog for a walk and running into a pair of colorful parrots screeching their opinion of your leashed predator to brighten an otherwise drab day.

Luna and I heard the parrots conversing from a block away, and I knew it was finally spring indeed (despite the damp, cold weather) because the parrot woman never takes her two macaws for a walk unless it's warm enough for them outside. What a delight it was to turn the corner and see her strolling down the street with a blue-and-gold on one hand and a scarlet on the other.

Panama and Louis are two very happy parrots. It's a real kick to see them playing slide-down-the-metal-railing on their front steps or sitting on their perches outside supervising the yard work.

They have a lot to say about what's going on around them, and they're so darn smart, I'm quite sure it'd be very entertaining, if only I could understand their remarks. My husband recalls a parrot he had as a child that loved to whistle in a way that attracted the family dogs; when the hounds barreled into the room, looking around wildly to see who'd called them, the parrot made mischievous laughing sounds.

Luna usually goes into stalking-mode when she sees squirrels, cats, and crows on our walks, but she is completely dumbfounded by the macaws. She doesn't flinch--she's just stunned. She can do nothing but go quiet and stare at them. Clearly she can't make heads or tails of them, and when we walk away, she keeps twisting her head to look back at them; you can almost see the cartoon-strip question marks dancing over her head.