We all know Dooley. He’s my Timneh African Grey parrot. I’ve had him for nearly 10 years and he’s my buddy.

Alas, Dooley is not the only bird in this house.

About 5 or 6 years ago Cynthia decided she wanted a parrot of her own. We shopped around and considered Amazons and even looked into getting a scarlet red female Eclectus. After much consideration we decided that these birds might be a bit too intimidating for her due to their size. Our friends at Adventures in Birds suggested a smaller bird and told us about the Monk Parrot, also known as a Quaker Parrot.

This sounded like a fine bird but they did not have any ready for adoption at the time nor did they have a clutch being raised.

As we were leaving one of the shop keepers said “What about Mr. Zippers?” and Cynthia turned around and said “Mr. Zippers? What ABOUT Mr. Zippers?” You could see it in her eyes that she loved the name.

They introduced us to Mr. Zippers and told us the story of how he came to be named.

As Mr. Zippers was being raised and hand fed the caretaker of this particular bird managed to botch a batch of the feeding formula. Traditionally you prepare the formula in a bottle while it sits in a pot of water over a flame.

The keeper was unable to prepare it in this manner (for reasons I don’t recall) and proceeded to heat it in the microwave. This resulted in a formula that was, unbeknownst to the caretaker, scalding hot on the inside and only warm on the outside.

When the formula was drawn into an eye dropper and then fed to the young Quaker chick it scalded his crop and did some severe damage. Being the humanitarians they are they took the young injured parrot to the vet and had his crop stitched up to repair the damage. The end result was a baby parrot with stitches in his neck that looked like a zipper which led to the name.

They did not know if the bird would ever talk and at the time he was still being hand fed. Cynthia is a bit of sucker for a hard luck story (which explains our longevity) and decided she wanted to adopt Mr. Zippers. The folks at Adventures in Birds agreed to let us adopt Mr. Zippers and arranged for us to collect him in a few weeks, once he was eating solid food.

When we brought Mr. Zippers home we were thinking here’s a nice, sweet birdy who will be Cynthia’s little green companion. He’ll sit on her shoulder and eat tasty treats and nobody will care if he can talk or not because he’s a sweet little guy who’s had a rough tough life of toil and strife but now has a home with a loving couple who will care for him for the rest of his little green life.

Fast forward a few years.

Mr. Zippers can talk!
He can say “I love you” and “I’m a bad bad birdy” and he sings a little song that Cynthia made up that goes:

“Handsome little Zipper-zoo!
Just a bird
Yes he is
A baby bird”

He clucks and whistles and he just adores Cynthia. Yes, he’s completely devoted to Cynthia.

And as much as he loves her, he HATES me.

This is pretty much all I see when I look at Mr. Zippers

That is 120 grams of the most spiteful, beaky, hateful little bird I have ever seen in my life! I am a giant of a creature to him. I could crush him like a bug but he could give a hoot. He will come for me with his beak wide open just itching to chomp on me and cause me as much pain as he can. He is absolutely FEARLESS!

When I walk across the room his head follows me with his beak wide open as if he’s just hoping I’ll fall into this open maw. If I kiss or hug Cynthia in his presence he gets infuriated and squawks and hisses until it stops.

That bird hates me with every fibre of his being.

But he loves Cynthia and she loves him.

I pray to God he never gets loose lest I find myself being angrily beaked to death in my sleep by a one bird version of Hitchcock nightmare. In fact I better make sure his cage is secure before I turn in tonight.

The other bird
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12 thoughts on “The other bird

  • July 20, 2006 at 10:53 pm

    That’s too bad.  Do you think you remind him of the bad caretaker?

  • July 21, 2006 at 8:08 am

    that has got to be the funniest thing i’ve read all week. 🙂 thanks for the laugh!

    i had a parrolet for about a year and ended up giving him to my mother because i was so busy with hockey. when i gave “pico” to her, he was sweet, mild mannered, funny, cute, etc… now, he’s a spoiled little despot of EVIL. but, he loves my mom. spiteful little twerp. *grin* maybe it’s just a short person/being thing?

  • July 21, 2006 at 9:32 am

    I agree Joni, that is pretty funny. The picture is well placed in the story. It started my day with a smile. The Quaker Parrot probably is a really good choice. I’m throwing in the link so that people can see just how adorable they can be… That is if they don’t hate you.

    I looked up the Scarlet Parrot too just to see what you were up against. Apparently, as you can see in the picture on that page, they pluck themselves. I guess they get nervous.

    I need to see these birds sometime when I’m back in Houston! I havn’t seen you in quite a while!

  • July 21, 2006 at 9:56 am

    I wonder if the guy who accidentally burned Mr. Zippers was a bald white guy with facial hair

  • July 21, 2006 at 11:30 am

    Play some soothing black metal, like God of Empty Nest by Hatebeak (side project of Hatebreed, whose singer’s parrot’s voice is processed through a pitch shifter).

    (I’ve met him. He sorta looks like the bird in Hatebeak too…)

  • February 22, 2007 at 4:56 pm

    HA HA HA too cute.. I love that picture of Zippers he looks so fearsome !! Oh love the peice on the french fries hehe …

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  • October 17, 2007 at 5:51 am

    I found the story…. Mr. Zippers is very fortunate to have you both as companions in his flock. He looks comfy in his pot holder. We have 3 Quakers in pot holders, er Quaker Bakers, er happy Huts, and 3 who don’t like them!

    I can’t imagine live without my Quaker companions.

    Co Author, Parrots in the City

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  • September 20, 2009 at 10:24 am

    well, I have an african (and a timmneh). The african has always been devoted to me but suddenly has fallen out with me. Flys away when I come near him, its like I am some sort of parrot killer!!! Goodness knows what I can do, its been 3 months now!

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