Pavlov is our Hahn’s mini macaw. Like many birds, he was sweet as can be as a young baby. The entire family adored him. He would hang upside down on one foot, dance to Happy Birthday, call for the dog to come inside and nap under your chin. Then something happened. Pavlov became a “bad bird.”
Seemingly out of nowhere, Pavlov drew blood when I asked him to step up. We thought maybe it was the nail polish, or a ring he didn’t recognize. Maybe he did not like my purple shirt. Then it happened again. And again. At our lowest point Pavlov leapt off his perch while I was walking by, charged up my arm and bit my cheek. While Pavlov and I’s relationship deteriorated, his relationship with my husband, David, grew stronger. He began calling for and waiting for David, clung to the side of his bird cage (thus his nickname “Velcro”).
This turn of events was disappointing. Longing for something small to care for, I yearned for a parrot after a pregnancy loss years ago. Parrots became my hobby and Pavlov is supposed to be my bird. I researched bird species for months and spent hours convincing David (a former bird hunter and ravenous carnivore) to become a “parront.” What went wrong?
Although it is tempting to hold a grudge and fear Pavlov, Pavlov and I are working on our relationship. I offer a tasty treat like banana and he accepts it from my hand without charging my face. We are both satisfied with this small step. Pavlov is not what he was supposed to be. In some ways I love him even more for what he is. For his love for David. For his willingness to work with me. For challenging my expectations of what something or someone should be. For being a “bad bird.”