My Avatar


My avatar is, and has been, my companion for 24 years. I brought him home when he was 3&1/2 months old and continued his handfeedings until… well, until now. The only difference between the adult and the fledgling is that he augments his warm mushy food diet with nuts, seeds, rice, vegetables, and eggs that he eats himself.

He tests my steady hand when painting. I have learned not to flinch when he suddenly screams in response to a real or imagined threat outside the window. When I write, I have to think above his chatter.

This bird has also taught me much about relationships. He can’t be bought off with cool toys or basic provisions or how much fun we had yesterday. He needs cuddles and attention on a regular basis or I am dirt.

A macaw—like any pet or person—can be really annoying. That’s where love has to kick in to carry the relationship. Why do I love him? Because he’s beautiful? Mischievous? Intelligent and interactive? I don’t know. But unless I felt so much emotion for him, he’d just be loud and messy. For the same mysterious reason, for as long as I can remember, I’ve been attracted to birds and have always had one.

A large parrot certainly adds a ludicrous element to my life and is probably a big reason why I look at it with such humour!


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