April 21, 2011
At one stage when I was growing up we had a pet budgie. We were terrified of him. He was a biter. A stray finger in his cage or even the most gently offered out hand would result in a sharp, stinging nip. We’d let him out of his cage to fly around the back of the house, our hands folded up carefully within stretched out jumper sleeves. He’d fly around in a bit of a rush then come to a sit still on your shoulder, where he was in prime position to terrorise you. It was a strange sensation, having this small, vulnerable body perched next to your head, and feeling the closeness of his little skull next to your own, almost sensing his feathery little cheeks near your skin, and the quick, clawing sensation of his movements. At any moment he might land a sudden nip to your earlobe. We never had any idea how we were going to get him back in his cage. I’m still amused to remember the particular look on my dad’s face in a panic with the bird on his shoulder, eyes squinting and features contorted, he kept yelling at us to, “Get him off! Get him off!” And of course the rest of us were too scared to come to his aide.