Nov 22, 2007

Portrait of the Bird as an Old Man

Scooter was born on July 4, 1999 in a trailer park outside of Ithaca, NY. During his infancy, he made his home in a small cage with myriad brothers and sisters. As the smallest of the flock by far, he was unjustly disallowed the full run of the cage, and spent most of his time on the floor.

In early fall, 1999, Scooter was purchased for $5 by four enthusiastic budgerigar aficionados. His charming demeanor and stand-out method of locomotion ("scooting" on the cage floor) immediately earned him his name, in addition to much affection. Scooter then boarded a grubby VW Passat for the journey to his new home. His brief (yet daring) excursion underneath the driver's seat was a sign of adventure to come.

Scooter's first days as a free bird were rocky. Affected by a mysterious lack of flying strength, and a possible eye condition, Scooter crashed repeatedly in to walls and windows, despite closed curtains and padded walls. A year or so later, an air sack injury resulting from these crashes kept Scooter in his cage for much of his first three years.

During the years in the cage, Scooter thrived despite room to stretch his wings. His interests and hobbies expanded to exclude toothbrushes, corn chips, hanging upside down, and vacuum cleaners. Scooter presided over his living room from a large forest-green cage, complete with adjacent space heater. Despite a somewhat quirky appearance, due to bald spots (left by wing feathers which never grew in) and a beak of unusual shape, Scooter dazzled his housemates with his iridescent teal back and sky blue belly.

After several years of civilized cage life, Scooter once again made his mark upon the wider world of the living room. Despite becoming lodged behind bookcases and inside pianos, Scooter soon became Bird at Large. His flying skills rapidly improved, and within months he was able to land on hands playing piano or violin, hands holding forks full of food, hands holding pens, and any other place where avian assistance was generally warranted.

The next half-dozen years of Scooter's life were filled with many delights. His conversational repertoire expanded to include such words as "pencil", "Scooter", "budgie", "goodnight" and many varied shrieks. His new hobbies included landing on exposed food, attempting to bathe in juice glasses, chasing pencils, attacking shiny objects such as rings and spoons, and hampering the doing of homework (and occasionally befouling it). In all situations Scooter prevailed supremely over all other members of his household.

Though times were generally good, Scooter survived several brushes with death. Two unidentified infections placed him in the ER, and he endured a feeding needle full of bitter medicine for two straight weeks. His housemates were twice prepared for his passing, but not one to be outdone by Death, Scooter pulled through and returned to his passion for chasing pencils within a few months.

Though Scooter was never a long-distance flier, he made up for strength in tenacity. Never taking no for an answer, Scooter was known for his trademark evasive flying, and would dodge even the most desperate attempts to return him to his cage in the event that guests unaccustomed to birds landing on their heads would arrive. And although such attempts were made in good faith, they were almost never necessary, as Scooter's good looks and impressive singing served to thoroughly charm every single house guest. Most endearing was his habit of riding on shoulders in the morning, and stylishly adorning winter hats.

Scooter is now nearly nine years old, and very wise in his old age. Having honed his methods of communication with his cohabitants, he is now able to dictate his every whim from his regal perch with only a few short chirps. He exits the cage when and if he wants to, and always makes his desires perfectly clear. Scooter still enjoys jaunts around the living room, though his flying strength only propels him a few feet, and standby rescue is necessary. Crashes, however, do not faze this sage. He chirps for help from beneath the table, steps regally on to a finger, preens, and resumes his reign. Most of his time is spent gracing whomever is present with chatty conversation and puffing his feathers agreeably.

Also as a result of his old age, Scooter cheerfully allows snuggling, as shown.

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