I said yesterday that this month was going to focus on birds, and what better way to start it than with my own birds? Dakota is my oldest parakeet, and we celebrate his sixth birthday this month. I’ve had him since he was a baby, so that means I’ve had him for almost six years. I can hardly believe it. Even as I write this, he is hanging on the side of his cage looking for attention.
Dakota and I have an interesting relationship. I had originally gotten him when another bird of mine had gone missing. I had eventually gotten her back, only to have her pass away a few years later due to some sort of fungal infection that was medication resistant. I’ll discuss more about her later, but right now, Dakota is the focus of the day.
Dakota was always my “wild man”, and he still is rather energetic, although he’s calmed down with age. He still likes to play, but he is tame enough to play with me. He flies around a bit, but can usually be trusted to come back to his cage. When we play, he’ll sit on my hand, hang upside down from my finger, or allow me to swing him back and forth (Dakota’s always liked swings). Sometimes he’ll sit on my shoulder as well, like now while I am typing.
We also play this game where we have conversations together. It’s not like having conversations with a fellow human being, but I’ll come home from work and say hello to him, and sometimes he will chirp back. I’ll ask him questions and a chirp means yes, no chirp means no (or that he’s sleeping). There is of course no way to know how much of this system he truly understands, but I think he likes the idea of conversing with me, and I get a kick out of it, too.
We also have a routine at night, where I say good night, and I love you, and he chirps to reciprocate. I can’t say for sure what he is saying, but I’d like to think that he is saying good night and telling me that he loves me, but I honestly don’t know. I know that he knows this is the bed time routine, and he initiated the chirping there. I didn’t. And I do know that birds understand about as much as a toddler does. It’s like having a two year old telling his mother that he loves her. Does he understand what those words mean? Hard to say. But does he love his mother? Absolutely. That’s why he says the words, because he knows it will make mom happy. Maybe it’s wishful thinking on my part, but either way, it’s a very heartwarming interaction.