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Today's date: Wednesday February 20, 2019 Vol 52 Issue 08

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Bits and Pieces

by Barrie Hopkins

Beta's return

Not too many readers will have met Beta. Beta is a blue and gold macaw. I first met Beta well beyond 20 years ago, when she was just an egg that I was lucky enough to hatch in a tiny Styrofoam incubator. Beta was second-hatched to a family of four that arrived into this world four days apart, in sequence, with three other siblings: Alpha, Psi and Omega.

Those in the know will recognize the names as the first two and last two letters of the Greek alphabet. My memory now recollects no clue as to why those names were chosen, other than the fact they seemed to fit well with birds that appear so regal. The blue and gold macaws are native to the jungles of South America.

Beta is an exceptionally good bird; she does not live in a cage.

She spends her time day and night happily enjoying the freedom of movement on a T-bar stand with an assortment of parrot chewy toys and the stainless steel cups for her pelletted food and water. She loves nibbling an assortment of people food and repeats the word “good, good, good” if she likes it.

Beta can talk quite well. She calls “hello, hello, hello” when a car drives in and repeats “hi” in a male voice and female voice when one opens the door. She says her name quite clearly and enjoys the company of the other birds that are caged in our bird room. There is no mistake when she meows like a cat.

The reason Beta was returned to me from the person who originally purchased her was because their busy lives have changed and they no longer feel they can give Beta the time she really needs.

Beta does not demand a lot of care but she thrives on company. There is nobody happier than me to have Beta back on the arm of the one who originally raised and trained her. She is excellent company for me. We chuckle and chat quite often.

I sometimes get the feeling that Beta remembers me. The second day that she was back, I handed her half of a hardboiled egg. She took it in her bill, then clasped it in her foot, and pumping her head up and down, she regurgitated some food and tried to tuck it into my hand between my clasped thumb and forefinger. We used to, while playing with those young birds, hide some of their favourite food in a closed fist and encouraged them to find it. I strongly suspect that she remembers.

By the way, folks, now that Beta has found a new home, which is more than likely permanent, she is looking for a husband. If you know of a strong, handsome blue and gold male, willing and waiting, perhaps we should talk.

Take care, ‘cause we care.





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