Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Aglet Nibbler.

A couple of weeks ago, while I was sitting at a bus stop in Joondalup this little fellow decided to pay me a visit. Actually this isn't the same bird. But he's a good stand in. This, in it's broadest name, is an Australian Ringneck. The name is something of a catch all for 4 sub-species of parrot that live in Western Australia... and probably other parts of Australia, but I hadn't really investigated that deeply into it. I tried looking him up in a bird book, but he didn't quite match with the Port Lincoln, or with the description of the Twenty-eights. Which means I was hunting down what he was online. Apparently he's an intermediate, which means he's probably an off-spring from a Port Lincoln and a Twenty-eight. (I can't remember the last time I used so many hyphens.) It's a result of habitat destruction. In other words, these birds moved into the city, because where they used to live is gone. And now that they don't have their normal stomping grounds, the social structures of the sub-species are starting to merge. This is the result. I'm guessing there is probably quite a bit of variation in colouring from nest to nest.

Anyway, I didn't get the best resolution because he was really far away. If you enlarge the picture it's pretty darn fuzzy. Ah well... did the best I could. So, back to what I was saying about the bus stop. I was sitting there reading a book. Shocker; I know. As I'm reading I saw this parrot fly down and land in a nearby scrubby tree. There aren't any wild parrots were I live so he become the object of my undivided attention, which he noticed because he started staring right back. To my surprise he flew down from the tree, landing about 10 feet away from me, and then ambled up to my shoe with a swagger that would have made John Wayne proud. He peered closely at the aglet on my shoelace, and like a 2 year old who has encountered something new and exciting, stuffed it into his mouth. The nibbling continued for about 2 minutes, the whole time he's got his head cocked looking up at me as if contemplating my existence. I was certainly contemplating his, so I didn't bear a grudge. Although I was becoming concerned that he was going to eat the aglet, which would leave me with an unraveling shoelace and the bird with an impacted crop. Neither of which sounded appealing.

Thirty seconds later he dropped my shoelace, stared at an approaching student, and decided he'd had enough fun teasing the human and left. He didn't go too far. Just across the street to a big old tree and was joined by several more similarly coloured individuals of the parrot persuasion. I'd say they were all the same, but I couldn't tell from the distance I was at. And alas; no camera. Curses. For those of you worried about the state of my shoelace, it suffered no damage, although there may be future psychological issues from having experienced a parrot mouth.

Yes. I just anthropomorphized a shoelace. :)