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Harmony Books / Random House


"A Bone to Pick"

Nancy's latest parrot story involves her scarlet macaw, Will Scarlet, who is expressing his "dog side" by making bones into weapons. Nancy's three dogs - an English Bulldog, Rhodesian Ridgeback cross, and a Sharpei cross - have an impressive bone collection (mostly big marrow bones) which has its own special box in the corner of the living room. Lately, Will demonstrated that he wasn't content to simply be given one of those bones when Nancy feeds the rest - now he has learned how to throw the bones at the dogs, especially from overhead where they become formidable missiles.

Does anyone else have stories of parrots who "weaponize" things?

"Monsters Under the Bed"

In the canine tradition of my first macaw, Sarah, my scarlet macaw has added a new dimension to his dog side.

Bedtime in our house is a little like those good-nights on The Waltons - "OK, babies, it's bedtime; everybody go to their beds." With that, the three dogs head to the bedroom and take their usual places - Bug Queen and Savvy under the bed, and Bodhi the bulldog on the floor next to my side of the bed. While they're settling in, I carry both parrots to their sleeping box which is mounted high on the wall. Then I'm free
to head for the bedroom myself. Free, that is, until Will Scarlet started changing the routine.

First, it was coming into the bedroom in the morning to hang out on the footboard. Soon, he was joined by little Zacky, the cherry-headed conure, who sidled right up next to him. That was fine; no one tried to get on the bed itself. What I thought were just cute looks on their faces were really strategic observations.

Next, Scarlet decided he wanted to sleep in the alcove between our bedroom and the bathroom, so I bought him a toy-poodle size dog bed with fleece lining. Apparently, he's more of a towel bird because he stole a fluffy, bath towel from the laundry basket and put it next to the dog bed. Now I have an extra dog bed which is on its way to being a cat bed for our outdoor cats.

The alcove as sleeping space lasted a couple of weeks; then Scarlet was into the bedroom, nestling into a corner by the closet. That was a very brief interlude on his way to the ultimate goal - sleeping under the bed. His first course of action was to dispatch the two dogs who offered no resistance to "the beak". Then I heard that special macaw laugh - "Heh, heh, heh" followed by his small, sweet voice - "Good night, Will."

We were the Waltons again.


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