Last year, while replacing my great grandmother's recently deceased budgie, I bought myself a modest little Bourke parakeet. Nothing fancy, just a little gray-brown bird with a pale blue underbelly to twitter and sing in the morning. I hadn't done my research. This bird is a clown, not an impresario. When she wants out of her cage, she runs back and forth, back and forth, bobbing her head and flapping her wings like an animated carnival game. Once out, she takes a few maladroit turns around the room, swoops through the kitchen and office, lands on the four highest points in the house, and strafes my cowering cats. She cleans my ears. She sits on my head and steals my morning bagel. She perches on my computer and eyes my progress with a concerned, fatalistic cock of her head. She dive-bombs my housemates and picks fights with any fingers not belonging to myself. Then, she settles down on a nearby door and watches the household goings-on with rapt attention, occasionally chirping comments to remind us of her presence or gurgling along to music she finds inspiring. She doesn't sing, but she's a... More >>>