Every now and again my parrot, Abe, gets a night terror. This is why I am confident that he must dream of things. I’m not sure what he dreams of–probably that something is coming to eat him. He is a prey animal, after all. Dogs dream (presumably) of chasing squirrels. The parrot must dream of being snatched by a raptor.
He falls off his perch, to the bottom of the cage, and shrieks at the top of his lungs. He wakes me up and I run to him in the night, terrified that he’s hurt himself somehow.
I pull him out of the cage to inspect his body. Sometimes he’s wet because he fell into his shallow birdbath. When he’s wet in the middle of the night like that, it scares me because he doesn’t carry his wings right when his feathers are saturated, and I worry that I need to take him to the hospital.
I hold him on the sofa until he is sleepy again. I sing to him and keep the lamp on.
I worry about what he has nightmares about. He’s not stupid. He’s smart, just in a different way from mammals. He’s curious and he can figure out puzzles. In his eyes, you see something, it’s not mammalian but it’s there. I love him so much. I also feel badly that he has to live indoors with me, many thousands of miles from where nature intended him to be.
This Autumn, he will finish going through puberty. I will need to buy a girlfriend for him because it is unnatural for him to live all alone, the only one of his kind. He will not love me as much when he has a female of his species, and that makes me sad…but I tell myself that what is important is what is important for ABE.
He has been such a joy to my life that I am happy to have another parrot in the house. It will take a while to find the right one, because Meyer’s parrots are rare. I am going to name her ABIGAIL (get it? Abe and Abigail?) or SWEETLING. I won’t let them have babies or give them a nesting box…but you can prevent parrots (at least the ones I have experience with) from having babies if you prevent them from nesting.
I’m just going to go cry now.