Do you really want to hurt me?

Written By: B.D. Butler - Apr• 12•12

We all have those days in life when you wonder why the hell you actually got out of bed, and yesterday was one of those days.  We all have those days when we feel like if there is a pile of crap to step in, you manage to do it wearing new shoes.  We all have those days where the “Eye of the Tiger” was playing in the background, or Sandra Bullock was your best friend and you were cast as the quirky best friend.  Yep, we all have those days.

Yesterday there happened to be so many thing that slapped that old camel on the back, and not only did that back break, it cracked, bent, and eventually hit the ground do hard it shattered into a million pieces.

We are planning our first trip to our beach cabin on the Washington coast, and of course we take the birds with us.  They love to travel, and there is something about us all traveling together that I believe bonds pets, whether it be dogs, cats, birds etc., and their owners.  I got the travel cages out, and showered them off, because they actually had not been used in quite a while.  Probably poor scheduling on my part, but there was an opening for the bird groomer, and we had to hop on it.

Cooper would NOT come out of his cage, and when I say would not, I mean try coaxing a caged tiger out of their den, and see what happens.  So of course I tried to entice him with treats.  We were on a bit of a time crunch, so I broke my rule of going into his cage with a treat, a bird with cage aggression always tries to defend their “turf” and it gives them the paying field.  He did the sneaky thing of pretending he was going for the treat, and then in a flash he launched and grabbed a hold of my finger, and would not let go.  I pulled back, and saw blood dripping.  I know that it is advisable you do not “react” during these situations, however, when you think you may have possibly lost an appendage, and see blood dripping everywhere, I say it’s ok.  After all you are only human.  In the time after the thumb attack, Cooper flew out of his cage, and landed on the ottoman, I of course looked at this as a corralling opportunity.  Not noticing the blood was still gushing from my poor thumb, but hey I got him into his travel cage.  I then took a quick time out in the bedroom, to lick my wounds and gather my thoughts.  After I calm down I usually try to figure out how I approached the situation wrong, and think of a strategy for next time. “When you know better, you do better”.

Click here for pinning african grey.

Dexter went into his travel cage with not issues, and in mere moments, we were off to the bird groomer.  Andrea our groomer does such a great job, and usually everything goes off without a hitch.  However, again there seemed to be something in the air.  Cooper was not being cooperative with his nails being trimmed.  I tried to do the grooming once, and with Grey’s toenails being black it is extremely hard to see where the vein begins and ends, let’s just say I nipped a toenail and seeing blood Dexter’s foot was incredibly traumatic.  I swore that I would never do it again.

Andrea happens to be the best I have seen, and that’s why they have been taken to her.  In and Out, with no problems, or so I thought.  Cooper bit her, and drew blood.  He is usually so easy to handle in a towel, and usually goes limp when in the “burrito bird” position.  Nope, he was not having it, and he jerked his foot when Andrea was trimming his left front nail, and she nipped him.  It wasn’t that big of a deal, but he gave me a look like, “you are supposed to be my protector”.  A little Qwik Stop, and he was fine, but I could sense his resentment.  Dexter is a little more tempermental  with Andrea, doing his honking sounds, he sounds like a wild goose.  That’s my “goosey loosey”.

After we got home, I decided to leave the travel cages in the living room, so they wouldn’t know what was happening the next day.  Smooth waters right?  Wrong.

Click here for Cujo.

It’s hard not to take things personally sometimes, when your sweet bird turns into “Cujo”.  I will be the first to admit, when it comes to my animals, I try to do the best that I can.  It’s not always a hay ride, or an episode on birds 101, on animal planet.  It can be really frustrating, and you start to question everything that you do.

In my mind, I think, “I write a blog, and people look to me for an example, I should have this”.  When in reality, it’s nice to show that you aren’t perfect, and things can get to you too.  I think that when a reader will truly relate to your writing, is with your flaws, humanity, and humility in admitting, “hey I don’t have all the answers”.  Pressure is usually something that we put on ourselves, and it sucks.

At night when I start to hear “are you ready for bed?” about 9pm, that’s when we cover the birds.  So I heard the voices from the living room, and taking it as my cue, off I went.  However, Dexter had different ideas.  I closed Cooper’s cage, turned around, picked up Dexter, and went to put him in his cage, and WHAM!  A visit from “Cujo’s” cousin, and this time on the other hand.  You see, Dexter does not bite, often.  He will nip about this time a year, but usually only once (in fact he bit me the day before, I thought “yeah my yearly nip is over”.  I guess that’s what I get for assuming.  I know, I know, I know, parrots are still wild animals, yadda yadda yadda.  It still doesn’t make it feel any better to get your feelings hurt and your flesh any less tender.


So those of you reading this, who might be frustrated or have been there, and wished everything was perfect with your birds, it’s okay, I feel ya!  It’s a constant work in progress with a creature that is always in the terrible two’s who can shred your skin like paper.

A friend on Facebook commented on a post, asking “why do it then?”  Cause when it is good, it’s great!  There is nothing like it, and they are a large part of my family.

So I am leaving my frustrations on the page, and not taking it to the Washington coast with us.   Instead I am leaving my willingness to be open with my fellow parrot owners, and I hope that you can relate with my venting tirade.

 Thanks for “listening”.



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  1. Carianne says:

    I was referred to your site through a friend and I love it! Keep up the good work. I own an amazon and he sounds very much like your Cooper.

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