Akane is a parrot of many moods and they vary widely from day to day. Sometimes she seems like she’s happy to see me. I come in and pass her cage and she emits this little high pitched “CHIRP!” sound. If I come over, she wiggles back and forth on her branch and rings a bell. On the best days, she will bend her head down against the bars of the cage and allow me to rub the back of her neck against the grain of her feathers.
On other days, she squats low on her perch and eyes me suspiciously. If I so much as look in her direction, she fluffs out and looks like an exceedingly angry feather duster. I made the mistake of trying to pet her once on a day like that. She had smoothed down and walked up to me. Her head was bent over. I stuck my finger in between the bars and she clamped down on it – hard. Ever catch your finger in a set of garden pruners?
“Ow!” I cried.
“Ow,” repeated Akane. I think she has more good days than bad. She’s been living with us a couple of months now and seems to be settling in. Still, I’ve learned I have to be careful or bad things will happen when my guard is down.
Akane doesn’t like to leave her cage. When I’m downstairs watching television, I open up her cage door. Sometimes she will poke her head out – to see if the coast is clear – then climb up to the top of the cage and flap her wings for a few minutes. A lot of times she won’t even do that. After a couple of weeks of opening the door so she could exercise, I got a little careless. I left the cage door open when I went upstairs. I don’t think I was up there very long. I came back down after a bit to refill my Diet Pepsi and was surprised to see an empty cage.
I treaded gingerly into the family room and checked the obvious places: the tall plant in the corner, the curtain rods. I made sure I didn’t accidentally sit on her on the couch. I tiptoed into the kitchen, whistling. I don’t know why; even my dogs never came when I whistled. After a few anxious moments, I called Meka down to help. We searched the downstairs and finally found Akane by the coat rack. She poked her head out of my coat sleeve when Meka called her to “step up”. I’m not exactly sure why she was hiding in my coat. Maybe Daniel had been watching a magic show on television. There was much clucking as Meka took the bird in both hands and placed her back into the cage and shut the door. Escape attempt number one: busted.