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By Gary Bogue
Thursday, July 12th, 2007 at 7:41 am in Pets.

Basic Rules for Birds Who Have a Cage to Maintain
Well, I printed “Basic Rules for Cats Who Have a House to Run” here for cat lovers on June 27, and “Basic Rules for Dogs Who Have a Yard to Protect” for dog lovers on July 9.

Now, in response to requests for same from bird lovers out there in never-never land, here is a copy of “Basic Rules for Birds Who Have a Cage to Maintain,” written by my cockatoo, Lottie (now deceased), as printed in my column on July 23, 1997.

Basic Rules for Birds Who Have a Cage to Maintain:

BIRD CALLS. All birds need to keep in good voice. Best time to practice screaming is just at dawn, when your humans are asleep and can’t bother you.

EATING. For some reason, humans always hide the best seeds at the bottom of the dish. Stick your beak deep into a freshly-filled bowl of seed and use quick sideways motions to empty it all over the just-cleaned bottom of your cage. This makes it easier to choose your favorite seeds when you’re ready to eat. Your human will say, “Oh, how cute!” or something like that.

BITING. If God hadn’t meant for birds to bite, he/she wouldn’t have given us pointy beaks.

FLYING. When your human lets you out of the cage to exercise, always check for open doors or windows. There’s lots more room to fly around outside.

POOP PROUDLY. When you’re out exercising, always sit on something that contrasts well with your poop. For example: white bird poop looks simply striking against a backdrop of black couch or dark lamp shades.

TALKING. Humans are hard to understand, so mumble a lot when they try to teach you new words. This makes them speak louder and pronounce words over and over, so it’s easier for you to learn them. Humans have a limited vocabulary and always try to teach you the same words, like hello, pretty bird, ****, **** and ****.
(Editor’s note: ****, **** and **** are not permitted in family newspapers! We’ll “speak louder” and “over and over” at the next writers’ meeting to help Gary understand this.)

VISITORS. Always fly to a new human’s shoulder and snuggle up against its neck and make soft cooing sounds so they don’t notice you’re pooping down the back of their shirt or blouse.

PERCHING. When humans let you sit on their fingers, hang on tight and start biting. The exhilarating waving and shaking around is lots more fun then those dull old rides at Great America.

NIBBLING. Lampshades can be made more attractive by nibbling pretty patterns around the top edge with the tip of your beak.

WATER DISH. It’s fun to bathe in your water dish. When you’re finished, flap and shake water everywhere and your human will be delighted to wipe off your cage and everything around it with a clean towel.

OTHER PETS. Save your heaviest seed shells (walnuts, Brazil nuts) to drop on the cat’s head whenever it sits under your cage staring up at you.

BEDTIME. Train your humans so they know when it is your bedtime. Wait until they are all gathered together, to avoid repeating yourself. A good time is when they all sit on the couch and stare at the stupid noisy box. Scream until someone covers your cage with a towel.
Remember to do this each night at the same time.
That way you don’t have to stare at the stupid noisy box with them.

That’s it for the “Rules,” folks. There ain’t no more. Unless an erudite garter snake comes slithering up to me some afternoon with a piece of paper in its mouth.

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