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Living with Luna

A cockatiel secretly runs my life

Living with Luna
Little Miss Luna

Have you ever been sitting at your desk, trying to study or get work done, and decide you want a nice crunchy snack to eat? I'm sure most of us know this desire, and have acted upon it. After getting that snack, have you ever had a tiny little gray gremlin try to sneak across the desk, right in front of you, to steal said snack? And then run away, scattering cracker or peanut crumbs all over your laptop?

Luna does this to me on a regular basis. She loves steal my food, and I regularly have to stop her from trying to eat things she should not have, like spicy chips, or even whole jelly beans. If it is on the desk, she will try to steal it. And if I try to avoid her doing this, by putting little treats in her food bowl or around her cage, she won't eat them. Apparently, the thrill of the heist is what does it for her, and the snack is just a bonus.

Luna also has a fondness for sitting on my shoulder, practically cuddled against my ear, and waiting for a noise outside to sound. Her particular favorites are sirens of any type (but usually police cars and ambulances), and crows. Once a suitable sound is made, Luna will stretch to her full height, open her wings ever so slightly, and SCREAM.

"THERE IS A NOISE, HUMAN. TIME TO SCREAM. SCREAM WITH ME, HUMAN! YES, ANSWER THE SOUND! OUTMATCH IT!"

Honestly, I am worried that one day she may cause hearing damage. I've had to teach her to sit on my knee instead of on my shoulder (I like to sit with my feet up on my chair, knees bent close to my body), because I would like to keep my hearing for as long as possible.

I got my sweet Luna from a bird rescue. She had been abandoned by her mom, and both her parents didn't like her and would beat her up, so the breeder she belonged to decided it would be best to give her to the rescue so she could have a better home. When I went to the rescue, I walked into the gate and was startled when a big tom turkey ran up to me and asked for pets. Several cages had been brought outside, as it was a lovely warm day, and I looked at the variety of birds. There was a juvenile African Grey with a plucking problem, a beautiful rainbow lorikeet, several pigeons and doves, chickens, and a very angry swan that had been placed in a dog pen because it kept attacking the turkey and chickens that roamed around loose. There was a modified shed that the head of the rescue led me into, and I continued looking for a bird that hit a chord. I was immediately surrounded by 3 or 4 HUGE macaws in large cages that had been modified to stop them from breaking out. They were big, noisy things, and I was just about to walk out when I heard a tiny little chirp in the back. There sat my beautiful girl, a hobbit of a bird next to giants. I knew instantly that she was mine.

The first week I had her, she was still quite wary of me because she was 3 years old and hadn't really been hand-trained at all. I was trying to get her used to my presence and sound, so I was sitting next to her cage and doing schoolwork on my laptop. I guess she decided that I wasn't paying enough attention to her, so she climbed all the way to the top of her cage until she was clinging to the ceiling with her beak and feet, completely upside down. Then, she let go with her beak, and was hanging by her toes, wings out at full span. With a few light flaps, she began to swing by her toes, and started making little cockatiel sounds, gradually getting louder as I watched in amazement. Once she saw that she had my full attention, she folded her wings and carefully climbed back down the wall of the cage, coming to a stop right by my face. She stared at me for a few moments, and then settled back on her perch and started to preen. She ignored me for the rest of the night, but was clearly pleased with herself.

I've Luna now for nearly 3 years, and she has blossomed into quite a sassy little thing. Her hand-training has gone very well, and she has started to trust my fiancé enough to sit on his shoulder and mess around with his hair. She still likes to act very big and tough by flaring her wings at my roommates, and she regularly hisses at my roommate's dog, but she's a sweetheart through and through.

Despite her little oddities, and her love for wrapping herself in my hair, I think I would be having a very hard time without my little grumpkin. Luna has a talent for lightening my mood, and she makes me smile everyday.

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Jolie Determan
See all posts by Jolie Determan