My old bird, Pete the Parakeet, was a real eye opener.
We bought him a bird language training record which we played so much that it drove everyone in the house totally nuts. It said, "Hello Baaaaby," over and over along with other combination's of words but Pete never learned a single word from it. Yet Pete recognized everyone in the house and would call us by name as we walked into the house. He would say "Hello Jackie, Hello Jerry, Hello Jeffrey" as we walked into the door. He was never wrong. As a matter of fact, when we bought the bird, we bought a bird proof cage in which the bird was supposedly unable to open because you had to lift the entire door and then pull it out. It was only one day that Pete figured out which two bars that he had to squeeze together to pull the door up, then he would bang his body against the door to open it.
When we ate, Pete would sit on my shoulder and ask for attention. He would nibble on my ear. But if I didn't turn and talk to him, he would nibble on it a little harder. Still if I didn't acknowledge him, he would bit my ear, I would turn my head, he would then bite my nose and fly away mad.
Also at the table, Pete would walk on the table at breakfast. So everyone had to be on guard. He wanted to eat the eggs and get the yoke on his feet then lick them off. You had to protect your food with a fork and try to jab him with he fork to be able to eat the food yourself. As we still ate breakfast, he would sometimes fly down toward a cup of coffee, drop his landing gear, and dip them in the coffee as he flew on by. After landing, he would lick the coffee off of his feet. He was a real character.
Another game that he would play was to bug who ever was sitting in the toiled. The game was when we went to the toilet, we had to pretend that we were walking into the living room and then make a sudden jump toward the toilet and close the door before Pete could get in. If you were sitting on the pot, you were fair game. He knew that you couldn't do anything because you were stuck and he would torment you continuously like a ravaging fly. So we ended up with the game of jumping toward the toilet before he could get in and then you can do your duty in peace.
Pete loved the mirror, he would look at him self and say "Hi Pete" and some other phrases which I can't exactly remember.
But one day my brother went to the bathroom and Pete made it halfway into the toilet and half way out. He was smashed in the door. I was still in seventh grade so I was just a little kid. My brother felt so bad that he went and bought me another bird that looked almost like Pete. I don't actually remember this, but my brother said that the second that I came home from school, I looked at the cage, across the room, and yelled, "That's Not My Bird." I knew it right away. So the next day my brother took the new bird back and bought a flying squirrel. I remember that very well.
I asked my brother what happened to Pete and he said that he opened the door and Pete flew outside and would never came back. I walked around for several days with my mom's hand mirror and called for Pete but I could never find him. The squirrel was a real nice little guy and was always very afraid of everyone. But cleaning up after him was a total mess so I asked my brother to take him back to the pet shop.
After twenty years I was in and out of the Navy and my brother came to live with me. He told me the real story of how Pete only made it half the way into the restroom when the door was slammed. I realized that my brother never intended to hurt the little bird and it was just a dangerous game that we played and we never realized the dangers until it was too late.
That's the story of my bird Pete. He too could recognize people and he was a living, loving little being that every right to a happy, healthy life like any one of the rest of us.
C. Jeff Dyrek