Dooley the African Gray parrot is African in name only. I purchased him from a breeder in Katy, TX. Suffice to say, he’s pretty much only known the inside of a cage for the entirety of his life. Sure, he comes out to explore on occasion or when I handle him, but the TV room is pretty much makes up his entire universe.

Dooley has never had to forage for food or defend himself from predators. His hardships, trials and tribulations tend to center around whether or not he gets some of the pasta we’re having for dinner or a piece of tasty pizza.

With that in mind, there was this one event that we still laugh about.

Since Dooley lives in the TV room he gets to watch a lot of TV. He loves the Simpsons and seems to get the jokes because he laughs in all the right spots. It has always been our impression that the TV holds no great mystery for Dooley. That was until the time we happened to be watching this show that featured a visit by Jack Hanna. If you’ve ever seen a guest appearance on The Letterman Show or Larry King Live you know that Jack brings out animals to show the host and the audience.

On this particular occasion Jack had some type of Owl. We weren’t paying all that much attention as it was going on.

We were fairly distracted. We tend to talk while the TV is on and Cynthia often just sit with me and read while I type away on my laptop. It’s a cozy little family scene.

So we’re all sitting there, just hanging out as we do, and that owl decides to launch itself off the arm of it’s handler and flies straight at the camera.

I guess with it’s wings outstretched and with it flying in the direction it was, Dooley must have thought that owl was coming to get him because he let out a lout HOOT and fell backwards right off his perch to bottom of his cage.

Dooley was unhurt and climbed back up the side of his cage to his perch once he determined the coast to be clear.

What does Dooley know about Owls? Much less any other predatory bird? I would have to say NOTHING. But his natural instincts just kicked in when he saw that owl and he did what comes naturally.

It’s also noteworthy to point out that Dooley is completely terrified of a small step stool we use around the house, squawking and retreating whenever he sees it. I guess roving bands of step stools once hunted the jungles of Africa, preying upon unsuspecting gray parrots and that genetic imprint also remains coded in Dooley’s DNA.

Fight or flight
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5 thoughts on “Fight or flight

  • February 2, 2007 at 8:51 am

    “I guess roving bands of step stools once hunted the jungles of Africa, preying upon unsuspecting gray parrots…”

    Ha! And with that same thought process, it’s clear that hovering couch throw pillows once stalked wild cats hundreds if not thousands of years ago. 😉

  • February 2, 2007 at 11:24 am

    Try waving one of the cardboard tubes that wrapping paper come packaged around. That makes for hours of enjoyment watching a bird flap around in horror. (j/k – I felt like an awful mom when I finally figured out what was freaking out my poor Trixie.)

  • February 2, 2007 at 1:13 pm

    you ARE a bad mommy! petrified snakes are the bane of birds, doncha know? ;P

    as always, jay, great story! keep’em coming!

  • February 2, 2007 at 2:16 pm

    “But his natural instincts just kicked in when he [saw] that owl and he did what comes naturally.”

    Is he a burrow owl? Was he trying to naturally burrow away from the predator? 😉

  • February 6, 2007 at 2:18 pm

    I’d always wondered where step stools came from. Huh, African in origin you say? Learn somethin’ new ever’day!

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