An old girlfriend in San Diego asked me one time to watch her friend Jessica’s parrot for a weekend. Jessica was on vacation for a week and my girl agreed to watch “Sally” while she was gone. Yada yada yada, something came up with my girl and she had to leave so I was asked to fill in on bird duties last minute. It might be important to note that Sally was in Playboy with Jessica for one of those College specials. She had the bird since she was a kid, they were as close as any human and animal could be. The job came with a big list of instructions and at the top of the list, underlined with a few exclamation points to drive it home: “Make Sure You Lock The Cage.” It was one of those situations where the cage was jerry-rigged to begin with; you had to do this and that to make sure that Sally couldn’t stick her head through the slats and pull out the bar clasp that was holding the door locked. Friday, Saturday and Sunday—Jessica was coming home on Monday afternoon. Done and done.
So… I have the keys to my girlfriend’s apartment for the first time ever and I’m taking care of her extremely hot friend’s bird for the weekend. The first night, no prob. This is going to be a breeze. Saturday night I head over before going out for the night (I’m pretty sure I was going to see Mark E Quark, Jeno and Garth). Check no problems. I had a little bit of time to kill so I opened a beer, turned on the stereo and walked out on the deck to drink it. The lived directly below the flight path for the San Diego airport, which made it a pretty dope spot to kick on the deck, listen to music and watch the planes fly right over your head. After about 20 minutes or so I said bye to the bird, locked up and headed out. I left the CD playing as I figured the bird would appreciate the music.
I didn’t get out of bed on Sunday until like three in the afternoon—it was one of those nights. The last thing I wanted to do was get in the car and drive 20 minutes to go check on a bird. But I did. As soon as I opened up the door to my girlfriend’s apartment my gut dropped to the floor. The place was trashed; shit was thrown all over the house. I ran through the apartment real quick in a panic and noticed that nothing seemed to be missing. The TV was there. The stereo too. There was some jewelry on the coffee table. Then I started to notice that some of the big candles were now big piles of shaved wax on the floor. The wood frame around a big mirror hanging the living room wall was broken. The kitchen was hit hardest. Broken dishes, curtains ripped from the wall, half eaten fruit on the floor, the wood backs on some of the kitchen chairs were snapped in half—some of the bars even whittled down to matchstick sized ends with piles of shaved wood on the floor. Then I noticed the door to the birdcage was open and no sign of Sally. Long story short, I found the bird, cleaned up the apartment for hours while suffering from the worst hangover ever and ended up replacing all the broken shit in my girlfriend’s apartment.
It’s been a few years since I’ve told anyone this story. I almost forgot about it, but I just came across this article in The Hindu paper, “Parrots have personal tastes in music” and made me think about my personal story in a whole new way. The damn bird might have flipped out because I left the CD playing in the six-disc carousel. Apparently some scientists have figured out that parrots have an eclectic taste in music with one thing in common—an intense dislike of dance tunes. So yea, I basically tortured the bird with six plus hours of EDM.
Researchers monitored the listening preferences of a pair of African grey parrots (Psittacus Erithacus)—a popular pet species, and found that while one favored soothing “middle of the road” music, the other opted for more upbeat, modern pop, “The Telegraph” reported.
Birds also enjoyed rock and folk music and “danced” along, by bobbing their heads and legs. They even “sang along,” by squawking. But neither animal appreciated electronic dance music, which left them both distressed.
In a second trial two birds were presented with a touchscreen monitor, with two large buttons, which could be pressed by the birds’ beaks. The buttons activated a 15-second segment of two different songs.
The touch screen was left in their cages for a month and the birds were allowed to select the music whenever they wished. Although the pair liked to listen to both songs, clear preferences emerged with one bird choosing Scissor Sisters and the other opting for Vangelis.
The birds’ aversion to dance music—by acts such as the Prodigy and the Chemical Brothers—was not discovered under the test conditions. It emerged when the researchers were listening to music of their own preference within earshot of the birds.
You can read the full article here.