Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Ollie the Crafting Parrot

Many of us have family members that share our studio space with us--or at least visit us from time to time in our creative spaces.  I just happen to share my creative spaces with a parrot who LOVES crafting!

The past couple days have been spent in crafty bliss, creating projects for the Linnie Blooms Design Team ( ).  And Ollie the Monkeyman ha been hanging with me, quietly watching all the creative magic going on.  When I was properly covered from head to toe with ink and glue and couldn't find an extra square inch of table surface ANYWHERE, it was time to do a little cleaning up. My hands were so inky from sprays and sponging I couldn't have Ollie step up on my hand so I just walked about the room, cleaning up.  A couple times I had to leave to wash my hands in a sink in the adjacent room amidst Ollie's screams of protest.  Other than that, he hadn't made any sounds the entire time we were in the room working.  

So, just making conversation, I casually asked him if he liked watching Mama do crafts...and the clever boy immediately responded with a loud, emphatic "YEAH!"  And repeated his answer twice more for emphasis.  

Most people do not share their lives with parrots and think all talking birds do is  mimic what they hear.  That's not the case with all species.  Ollie is an Eclectus parrot, a species that is very intelligent and capable of much more than just imitating sounds.  He uses words and sounds appropriately and we have managed to form a great communication vocabulary.  He is definitely a thinker and will only respond to what makes sense to him.  For example, he understands what hurt and pain means and totally respects when I tell him an object or action will cause him pain.  Obviously I wouldn't allow him to just wander around a work table with craft tools and supplies but if he reaches for something that would be harmful for him to touch, I only have to say "don't touch" or "uh uh...scissors OW!" and he stops immediately and backs away. 

He is also a critic.  If he sees something he recognizes, like if I stamp an image of a bird, he'll say things like "Look!  Look at THAT!" He LOVES it when I stamp and is totally fascinated with the images that appear.  

Yes, he is a lot of work and yes, he needs lots of fresh food multiple times a day..and yes he also makes some high decibel sounds at times...but he is also a fascinating creature.  And the fact that he keeps me company in what can be a very isolating profession, is a blessing.  


ogatahaveit said...

What a smart animal. I like how he responds to your questions and he understands when you say that he'll get hurt and backs away. He sounds like such a sweetheart. You are lucky he is so well behaved when you craft.

Gail Green said...

He IS a sweet, sweet boy! Hope you get to meet him one day...