When people first witness what I am about to show you, they are alternately amazed or concerned.
Were it not for the appreciative soft chirps, they might be forgiven for assuming I’m trying to, er, manhandle my pet bird.
I don’t know exactly how it got started, but at 10 years old this year, Pearl rarely goes a day without a thorough (and thoroughly enjoyable) neck scratching session.
I suppose in the wild the other birds would do this for her – according to birdie nature books, neck scratching (aka “grooming”) removes itchy feather sheaths as new feathers grow in, and helps the birds look and feel their best.
So in the not-so-wild, I am the stand-in for Pearl’s flock. And thus it falls to me to do the nightly grooming duties.
Usually it starts with a series of beak-butts against my arm, along with a few not-so-subtle chirps, increasing in volume if I do not promptly drop whatever I’m doing to take the hint.
Next, if you were in the room with us, you would see this:
Followed by this:
And then this:
The chin scratch we save for last:
And end up right where we started:
She lets me know she’s had enough with a grumpy squeak and (often) a nip.
Her version of “Thanks, Mom” may leave a bit to be desired, but the customer satisfaction score remains high enough to demand a repeat performance night after night.