Larry Bird, my African ringneck parakeet, complains that I spend way too much time writing about the dogs and not nearly enough about his own beautiful self. Larry is 19 years old this spring. As you may have guessed from his name, we acquired him during the Lakers-Celtics playoffs in 1987. We tried to teach him to say "Go Lakers," but he was true to his color (vivid green) and would never repeat it. He does know a number of words and phrases, however: "Hi Larry," "Good morning," "What cha doin?" "Larry's a good bird" "Larry's a pretty bird" and, on occasion "Wipeout!" When we turn out the lights at night, he says "Good night!" He mimics door squeaks and makes kissing sounds.
But Larry's most unusual accomplishment is that he meows like a cat. Like several cats, in fact. He has two or three different meows, picked up from the various cats we've owned over the years. Most people think they're really hearing a cat when Larry meows. By the way, we also taught Larry to say "Here, kitty, kitty." After hearing him, one of my friends said, "That just proves that birds don't know what they're saying." I don't know about that. I think Larry used to get a kick out of biting the cats when they would stick their noses through his cage bars.
When he's not playing peekaboo with himself in the mirror, Larry likes to ride on shoulders and take hot showers with us. His favorite foods include scrambled eggs and chicken, leading us to nickname him "cannibal bird." The only drawback to Larry--besides the scattered seed and the powerful beak--is that when he wants attention, Larry shrieks. Not like a girl, thank goodness, but ear-piercing enough just the same. That's okay. We all need a good scream now and then.