December 19, 2008

Curious George: Santa hacks. What's the best way for Santa to give a bird as gift?

The best we've come up with is that he delivers the cage, other doodads, and a note in the cage saying mom and dad have to get the bird. Or instead of a note, a fake gift card from Santa. (Additional info: he's an only child, 6 years old, and flies off to the grandparents the day after Christmas, staying there for 3 weeks. The bird is cockatiel)

  • Stuff it and serve it for dinner.
  • "Dear Knickletbocklet, I have brought you a friend for a present. He has his own special house, and will want to spend some time settling down in *your* house for a few weeks before he gets really comfortable with you. I have left him in the xroom for you, because he needed peace and quiet for a while. Go visit him now! I hope you will be a good friend to him- I know your parents will take really good care of him while you are away. love, Santa"
  • I have left him in the xroom for you We live in a very small apartment. The bird will be heard. We can't hide one up in the closet or whereever. He'll be heard from the moment we get him. So if we get him before Christmas, it won't work. Waiting until Christmas night to get him is crazy, and I don't think will work either. And doing it after Christmas needs finesse. My wife has been working on a letter, and I like some of what you gave us, fish tick. But I still can't figure out how to work the fact that the bird can't be there suddenly in the morning, but that's how Santa works.
  • Can't hide him at a workplace, neighbour's apartment, or basement parking area for a few hours on xmas eve? Alternately, maybe Santa could have instructed the bird "fly" from wherever it was "born" (Peru? Madagascar? I dunno), but note that the flight will take a few weeks? In the meantime, here is a book on raising him...
  • I really like fish tick's idea that the bird is en route - flying does take a long time you know. Maybe give a picture of the bird? or a pic of the place where it's 'flying' from? or illustrating the 'journey' to your house? and a letter from the bird saying s/he is very much looking forward to meeting Little Knickerbocker, is sure they're going to be great friends, and will be there as fast as its little wings can carry it... And the How To Care For Birds book is a great idea in the meanwhile.
  • When I was a kid my parents got me a pet hamster. If I recall correctly, there was a presentation of a cage and a note saying that I would get to choose the hamster, myself, from the pet shop.
  • A cockatiel. Have you ever had one before? Do you have any idea what's about to happen to your home and everything in it? They're generally pretty quiet at night so it would be possible to keep it at a neighbor's place until after your son had gone to sleep and bring it in then. Imagine his surprise as he's woken at the very first faint light of dawn by the sweet, deathly, horrible, unimaginably loud shrieking of his new pet! From the dark past, here's a Cockatoo/English dictionary. It may come in handy. I've found that cockatiels speak the same dialect: Date: Sun, 2 Nov 86 02:07 EST From: Mike.Kazar@A.CS.CMU.EDU (C410MK50) To: Gloria-Quote-List: :INCLUDE: "DSKB:GLORI1.DST[C410MK50]"@A.CS.CMU.EDU; Subject: "Today's Quotes:" Message-Id: <02Nov86.020744.MK50@A.CS.CMU.EDU> Sic Transit Gloria Thursdi Office: WeH 8115, (412) 268-7561. Home phone: (412) 421-5129. Boltzmann Hacking: x3048. Hours: afternoon through late night. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Research associate in computer science. Projects: connectionist symbol processing, nonmonotonic reasoning. The first Cockatoo-English dictionary: Action Meaning hissing -> I'm nervous; go away. I would like to bite you. clicking (of beak) -> See, I am well equipped to bite you. crowing -> I've won; I'm king of the hill; you are slime. cooing -> I am chewing/destroying something of yours: fun. honking -> I am stuck or caught. Help! whinny -> I am talking in my sleep. quacking -> I feel like making noise now. basic scream -> Pay attention to me / Go away / My dish is empty. stamping foot -> I'm getting pissed. blood curdling scream -> I'm really pissed; get out of my sight. **==> That was Dave Touretzky's plan file.
  • How about a "flock" of birds on the Christmas tree as well? I noticed tons of bird ornaments this year--no nice rocking horses though, dangit! A how to care for birds book is a great idea--something to take with him, and Grams and Gramps can have fun reading and talking about it with him to keep the excitement high. If you include a map of where birdie is from, then you can sneak in a little more edumacation. Here's a fun site you can direct him to: KidZone You could also get him a T-shirt to wear on the plane so he can show his grandparents what kind of bird is flying to his house. The other thing to think about with birds is the stress they go through in the winter when they're first brought home. Cockies are pretty tough, but they do sometimes die within the first week, so getting one home, healthy, and established before Knick Jr. comes back is a good thing. Shuffling it about from another place to yours (not via the parking lot!!!) isn't the best idea healthwise. Have you had cockies before? Please realize they are long-lived birds--they can live fifteen to twenty years--that's a big commitment. Make sure the bird you get is well socialized. We've had two--one was a lovely, lively, talky, friendly, EXTREMELY social bird that was healthy, easy to care for, and fun to be around. He loved the sexy bird in the mirror and was a riot to watch. He used to hang out loose on the top of the cage dancing to CDS, wolf-whistle at the dogs, and ride the cat. When anyone he knew came in the door, he would fly to a shoulder and love-nibble an ear. The other was a rescue--mean, bitey, hissing, always plucking feathers and being weird. He got loose just once and broke his neck flying into a window. It was sad, but I can't say as anybody missed him as he was a little horror. I'm assuming you've either had a cockie or done due diligence before deciding to get one. Cockies are very much like a dog in that they HAVE to have interaction 2-3 hours a day with people, otherwise they pine and get nasty. Getting another cockie will help them stay sane, but then they don't care about the people. If you're not familiar with birds, a lovely (and cheaper) pet is a budgie. They're cheerful, friendly, colorful and easy to care for, although not as long-lived. Merry Christmas!!
  • Do you have any idea what's about to happen to your home and everything in it? Oh, yeah, Kevvin reminded me... It's been 20 years since we had our cockie, and as I sit here typing, I can see the nibbles out of the picture frames, the tears on the bindings of the books on the (nibbled) shelves, and the rough plaster patch where he ate a hole through the wall near his cage. I do remember every exposed electrical cord wrapped in aluminum foil, and never being able to use the ceiling fan. My house plants don't have chicken wire around them anymore. There's no occasional streak of bird poop down the curtains or crunch of birdseed underfoot. It's a lot easier to wash your hair without a bird on your head enjoying his daily shower. I'd almost forgotten how coordinated I used to be walking out of the house backward, while scanning for an accidental escapee. ...I'd advise you to go for a budgie. Still fun, but much less intense.
  • "A cockatiel. Have you ever had one before? Do you have any idea what's about to happen to your home and everything in it?" Umm, well, you've swung and missed, Kevin. Let's please keep separate the tiny, little, one-step-above-a-budgie cockatiel versus the relatively huge and always horrifically noisy cockatoo. Were this not the new, enlightened Mofi, I would have to say here that with cocks, size does matter.
  • "Umm, well, you've swung and missed, Kevin." Haha. I see you've never had a cockatiel either.
  • Budgies certainly can be a *lot* sweeter in temperament, for sure.
  • Righty-oh, Kevvin. The only difference between a 'tiel and a 'too is the volume of the screech and the length of time you have to endure the mess! ('toos live forever)
  • I grew up with 2 cockatiels, and 2 cockatoos. The cockatoos got sold in the divorce, but the cockatiels are still around, they live with my sister. The bird isn't my idea. I've tried to prepare my wife for what's about to happen (She is a neat freak). I've also tried to talk her into a budgie first. But a cockatiel was friendly to my kid, he liked it, and now my wife thinks that only a cockatiel will do. I think that Santa is going to postpone delivery of the bird until my son is about to return. I can't figure out how to word the letter exactly. Something like "I have a friend for you. Unfortunately, you are leaving soon, and I can't deliver him to your grandparents. So here is his home, and I'll bring him to your house when you return." That let's us get him while he's gone. If the bird flies here, I'll have to have a story about how he flew up and landed on my shoulder, or something else explaining how he got into our place. And I don't know how friendly he'll be. But if Santa delivers late for a reason, the bird's temperament doesn't matter as much, and can be explained away.
  • (My wife has never had a bird, cat, or dog. She had a fish once.)
  • Well, good luck with it! Neatness freak and cockatiel seems like a very incompatible situation. That darn dust gets everywhere! Hope you find a sweet tempered bird. Do you have a balcony where you could leave the cage for the bird to magically fly into? Or even an open window would do, like Harry Potter owls.
  • No balcony. All windows are louvred.
  • Put an egg in the cage.
  • Oooh - nice idea K7!
  • The bird isn't my idea. I've tried to prepare my wife for what's about to happen... My wife has never had a bird, cat, or dog. She had a fish once. Oh my, this reminds me of Mrs. SMT and our dear Maurice (cat) who joined our family back in the summer of '07. Little SMT #1 met a couple cats, and he was instantly "hooked" on cats; sure enough, Mrs. SMT thought that he needed a cat. The plan was to get him one for his birthday. Mrs. SMT never had a pet before, other than a fish tank. I knew that getting a cat was going to be a huge step for her. I tried to prep her the best I could, but in the back of my mind I knew there was no way she could ever be "fully prepared". By the time the birthday rolled around, I was almost against the idea of getting a call alltogether. Mrs SMT, on the other hand, went "all-in". She insisted we get the cat. Off we went to the shelter, and back we came with a very sweet and loving cat (those familiar with the pet thread can attest to that). Even with our dumb luck of getting a sweet and virtually hassle-free cat (OK, the poop trailing from the shards of plastic bag hanging from his butt did were not so easy to deal with), that cat nearly broke our family. Mrs SMT quickly realized what she had gotten herself into. It was a long year that we stuck it out with Maurice (I do miss him so much), but in the end, it was either our marriage or the cat (he's in a good home now). I have zero experience with "toos" or "tiels", but for your sake, I hope that you are not about to embark on a path that is similar to the one that we fought along. Just ignore me! I love the egg-in-the-cage idea, it's perfect (I would make it hard-boiled in case the curious hands wanted a grab at the egg - lest a raw egg be broken and traumatize little Knicker)! You might want to leave behind some broken shell pieces...
  • Ooooh, the egg is a great idea. Still trying to talk into an easier pet, smt
  • budgie! budgie budgie budgie budgie budgie budgie budgie budgie budgie I'm tellin' ya. She'll be everlastingly grateful to you for convincing her, and Lil' Knick won't care if it's in a color he likes.
  • ok now I'm having second thoughts about the egg. because it seems somehow more concretely deceitful than a "flying in from madagascar" sort of note. not sure why exactly ...
  • I am not a vet or bird owner but I am told that birds physically cannot be house trained, because they have a cloaca (so they poop at random). Mr. K., ask Mrs. K. if (a) the bird is going to live it's whole life in a cage (seems to me less interactive fun for a child and maybe cruel depending on the bird to cage size ratio) or if (b) she is prepared to wipe up bird poop from around your home for the rest of its life? That might reveal a contradiction in her thinking.
  • If the young sir thought the bird flew to your house, would he then surmise that the bird likes to fly? And then let it?
  • I'm a parrot owner, and parrots can be trained to: 1. Poop on command. 2. Warn of an imminent poop. 3. Poop only in designated places. This is important, as they poop every 15 or 20 minutes. Now, enjoy the rest of your breakfast.
  • I stand corrected.
  • We've had discusions about the bird coming out of the cage. She's resistant. We've also had a lot of discusions about the poo, she's really worried about diseases from the poo. I might be close to talking her into a budgie. K7, I think the egg is a lot less concretely decietful. There's no actual words coming from Santa. Just suggestions. The two cockatiels my sister have keep dropping eggs out, I wish I had time to have her send me one.
  • Diseases from the poo should be the least of her worries. As poo goes, it's fairly clean, and doesn't have any sort of poo odor. It cleans up easily. The bigger problem is dust, thrown food and molted feathers. They go everywhere.
  • Diseases from the poo should be the least of her worries. As poo goes, it's fairly clean, and doesn't have any sort of poo odor. It cleans up easily. Yeah, I know. Her mom is telling to be scared of poo disease. Her mom has never had a pet, either.
  • dust, thrown food and molted feathers Yup. That's about it. Wings can be clipped, and a budgie will stay on it's cage and be somewhat territorial. You can also make another spot where the bird can play with paper on the floor.
  • I think 2 budgies is the right answer.
  • That "cockatoo" link Ralph posted when he was slandering (:-)) my cockatiel experience is real good reading. And while it's extremely -too specific it does a good if heavy handed job of explaining the potential difficulties of sharing a house with a bird. My couple of years with a pair of cockatiels was also a couple of years with a real neatness freak. And the four of us got along just fine. Great, in fact, because she loved the birds and kept things really clean. If it was just me it would have been a disaster. Anyway, if there's a chinese grocery near you, a quail egg might be close to the right size?
  • What I need to do is find a site that says everything you guys are saying, but in Japanese. She won't take it seriously hearing/reading it in English.
  • Well Mr. K, this book might help you some: http://books.google.com/books?id=PelNleSO4okC&dq=okame-inko&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=fkdKqPvNiw&sig=fKxmDacWBfLt2ddBOoaLdqWwNrU&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result#PPA20,M1 Here's a link to a list of cockatiel websites in Japanese, hopefully it has some good info: http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=ja&u=http://www.little-snow.com/biad/okame-top.html&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=4&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dokame-inko%26start%3D60%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26sa%3DN
  • Pet birds. Ugh. . Sorry, I am still recovering from the emotional, mental, and physical scars of my ex's flock. Never, ever, ever will a bird live in my house again. Especially anything even remotely parrotish. Or loud. Or birdlike. The parrot screeches still ring in my ears. The smell of bird dander and poop still clings to my nostrils. And it has been years. Anyways, that said, if I had absolutely no choice, I would go for a canary or a finch. The are relatively harmles pests, and finches make that cute "meep meep" noise. But nothing more than a budgie. Listen to the voice of experience. BIRDS ARE EVIL. And anything rodent-like (i.e., lives in a cage with woodchips or other kind of litter) WILL stink up your house, no matter what you think. As a side note, my views are not tainted by the birds belonging to my ex. We are still good friends. But I wouldn't want to live in that zoo ever ever ever again.
  • One thing that will really keep down the mess with any bird is the new pelleted feeds. They're a bit more expensive, but not having millet and sunflower hulls flying everywhere is a HUGE bonus. As far as the translations... You can translate a webpage with bablefish I put in "how to keep a cockatiel" and googled the result I took birdsnways.com and translated to Japanese via Google translate if you prefer google Tiel Weekly has some great info on bird safety Find a page you like and translate it for her How about this one.
  • AWK! beat me to it, patita! AWK!
  • Based on my experience (much of it gained from living with my ex), I also do not recommend the following as pets: Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches (surprises await when they escape!) Hedgehogs Frogs Newts Chameleons and other lizards Any difficult or expensive sort of fish (too many types to go into) Mealworm and cricket colonies or anything that relies on eating them Hermit Crabs Rodent-like creatures of any sort (mice, rats, rabbits, gerbils, guinea pigs, skinny pigs, and whatever those fluffy things that like to roll in dust are called, etc.) Roosters. Especially when you live in a second-story apartment. Ducks (For food, yes. As pets, no) Billy goats
  • I can't speak Japanese but what if we told her in haiku? A bird is like love: Gentle cooing, soaring, then Tears your shit apart. etc.
  • No, I'm sorry, I said that wrong. She needs to here it from Japanese sources. Translating from English is still an English source. I still don't know if I talked her into a parakeet or not.
  • hear it
  • She needs to hear bird-owning truth from Japanese sources, but she's concerned about how Santa Claus will deliver the bird? Hoteisho!
  • The links I posted are to English translations so you can see what's going on. The first link is a bird care book in Japanese, via google's book preview. By searching for インコ, I found this site that has care, handling and feeding info on all manner of parakeets: http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=ja&u=http://talkativebird.com/&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=7&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%25E3%2582%25A4%25E3%2583%25B3%25E3%2582%25B3%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26hs%3DMJE
  • Ah, ookay. I just saw "translate" in the links, and thought they were translating Eng to J. I think I've talked her into budgies. I'll email her that link, too.
  • She needs to hear bird-owning truth from Japanese sources... She needs to hear any truth from Japanese sources. Just like when I hear something from her that I'm not sure of, I check it out from English sources. Some things are universal truths, some are culture specific truths. ...but she's concerned about how Santa Claus will deliver the bird? I'm the one concerned about that.
  • Knickers, the Japanese links I found and translated were all about how they love their birdies and had built huge areas of bird-loving into their apartments. Their birds roam free in all over the place. No mention of crapping on curtains. Japanese can go way overboard on their pets. hmmmmmm...Are you sure it's the little Knick that wants a bird?
  • Is this really so difficult? "Hi, kid. Good morning. Oh! It's Christmas, isn't it? Ya, sure it is." "Hey, look. Here's a really cool, humanely designed bird cage that would be perfect for a relatively small bird! Look, it would accommodate a small hookbill, or several finches, or maybe a couple of canaries, with no problem!" "Would you like a bird friend? Of course you would!" "And, now that you've seen the new bird house, and now that you're all excited about birds, and now that you're about to leave for two weeks to smoke hashish, find your inner self and re-discover the hidden lyrics of Neil Young, well, here's a bird book that shows pretty pictures of all of the finches and canaries and budgies and all of the other birds that cost less than $40 US. You go study this, and when you come back home, come back with a wish for a wonderful, colourful bird pet, with a really cute feather colour scheme, plus a really cute name, and also pack in your suitcase a water-soluble over-the-counter lotion that will relieve painful rectal itch." "You owe me at least that, you bastard avian roadie."
  • Umm, well, you've swung and missed, Kevin. I would have to say here that with cocks, size does matter. relieve painful rectal itch Can we ease up on the criticism and the everything-is-about-sex in this thread a bit?
  • Am I too late to chime in that a great companion gift would be a subscription to Bird Talk Magazine? As a relatively new parrot owner I've found it invaluable and eye-opening. Good luck with the bird gift! I hope both owner and bird are very happy.
  • I've talked her into budgies, I think. I've also convinced him that budgies are better (he keeps bringing it up, and he's sure he's getting a bird, because when he wrote his list he circled the bird and attached a note saying it was the most important. (I forget the exact words) he's also sure that he's getting exactly what he wants because, as he says: "I know I've been very good" (he's right. cocky, but right)) She has the cage at her work, it's perfect for a couple budgies. I think we are going to go with a book, instead of an egg. A book let's him know that Santa decided budgies are better (or let's him know Santa was listening when he decided for himself that budgies are better). It also gives something to focus on while in Japan, and he can prime himself up for getting one. And with a book, he can still be involved in picking out the bird he likes. With an egg, he's doesn't get to choose the bird. kinnakeet: We used to get Bird Talk when I was a kid. I don't know if we'll get that anytime soon, I'm not ready for him to dive that hard into birds. I'm trying to reign them back a little.
  • Sounds like a plan destined to succeed! Let us know how everything turns out...
  • OK guys, pet peeve. I dont' care how, you punctuate or. Spel, or if you use it's or its, but reign and rein are two things that really bother the BlueHorse. Being a horse, you know. And all the hoomans seem to do it. Reign--that's what Queen Victoria did. Rein--a part of a bridle that slows a horse down Thus, rein in the enthusiasm. Also: Rock--what you throw at Blue Horses asses Carry on.
  • Dingdang, BH - I find the it's/its thang drives me up the wall, personally, but I see one of the monkeys used it the wrong way in this thread, so I guess I should hush mah mouf. ;-)
  • Yeah, as an English major, I notice stuff like that, but unless it's REALLY awful, I usually just blow it off as something that happens to the best of us on occasion. I know I'm guilty of sometimes typing it's/its--even more often I do the there/their/they're thing when I'm going to fast or distracted. I blame it on the fact that my hooves don't fit the keys well, and the preview button is so small and way too far down the page. Bashi's fault! Thank DOGS for the spelling function--that one REALLY keeps me from sounding like an idjit.
  • REALLY! I mean honest. Like REALLY. Nutz. I'm going to bed.
  • Have a holly jolly xmas GramMa.
  • My eyes and ears know that, Gramma, but my fingers mix up homonyms all the time. Look up thread where I did it earlier. It's frustrating. I once saw a girl on TLC that had two heads. Whenever either of them would talk, they'd use plural pronouns like "we": "We are going to the store later". But when they'd sit down at the computer and chat with friends, eadch head controlled one half the body. So they'd have to cooperate to type. The cooperation would go on at a lower level, just like walking. Anyways, when they chatted on the internet, their pronouns became singular: "I'm going to the store". Their fingers would decide the proper word to use, even though they disagreed with their fingers. Sometimes I feel like a two-headed girl when I type.
  • Well, Knick, that whole two-headed girl thing just confused me all to heck. Go ahead and type whatever you want to. Use either hand head.
  • MonkeyFilter: Sometimes I feel like a two-headed girl when I type.
  • That's really cool, Mr K. I could see how forcing their body to work in a consolidated way would change how they think about themselves/self. (Although third-person pronouns are much trickier.)
  • Update: Santa brought a huge cage with many bird toys inside, and a book about parakeets. Before he went on the plane, I told my kid that we would go to the pet store when he came back, and he could pick out a budgie. He decided that he couldn't wait, and asked us to get a bird while he was gone, so that when he came back there'd be a bird immediately, and he wouldn't have to wait. So we just got two parakeets about a week ago. They spent the first day nervous as hell, but they seem to be settled in now. They are awfully quiet. They only get noisy if I have my ukulele out, and stop playing. Then they hang on the front of the cage and scream until I start playing again or put it away. (Even then, they are still quieter than any bird I've had). Anyways, thanks for the help all, and I'll update again when he comes back.
  • Monkeyfilter: They only get noisy if I have my ukulele out.
  • That's really cute, Mr K. And probably quite a good idea giving them a chance to settle in before the kid gets back.
  • Now presenting... *Knickerbocker and the Budgies!!* *claps, stomps, whistles, cheers* But Mr. Knick, what we really want to know is what's up with the wife? Is she happy with the budgs?
  • She's so funny. As we are bringing them back home, she tells me "The only reason we got these is because [our kid] really wants a bird. I told you I never had a pet and I don't need one." Once we get them home and in the cage, she spent the next hour talking to them. Every day she talks to them a lot. It's cute. She still thinks that she didn't/doesn't want a pet. She's still afraid of disease from them. She has to go wash after spending time near them. She hasn't freaked out too bad about bird seed everywhere, only vacuuming twice a day or so. She's doing pretty good, considering her personality.
  • Great! Budgies: workin' their magics. She'll be a pet-person, just you wait! Re: the cleanup. Do they have a bathtub? Budgies love water and allowing them to bath frequently will keep the bird dust down. Also, if they like a little spritz of water, that seems to anchor the dust and seed shells. Frequent cage cleaning--also good. Maybe all that vacuuming will desensitize them enough so you can stick the nozzle of the vac inside the cage and suck all the dust, feathers, and seed shells out once a day. Best bird I ever had let me do that and would sing to the vac. Once a week a complete scrub, but every day--a two second vac--the floor was great. (Other birds--plastic taped to walls and over carpet) If she starts thinking of names for them, she's hooked.
  • So glad you've gone with budgies, they should be a delight for everyone! smt, your wife has been wooed by a couple of feathered con artists! Birds can be big heart-stealers!