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Saturday 21 March 2009

Mickey, the Love-Sick Budgie

By popular demand I am pleased to post the sequel to Mickey, the Celibate Budgie, since this little chap seems to have captured a fair number of hearts, mainly from the ladies - come on lads, where are your hearts? You've got them too you know!

I will not reiterate the sheer academic genius of this extraordinary little budgie, only to underline his vast repertoire and understanding of the English Language at the expense of great personal sacrifice, dealt with in detail in his first story.

Towards his autumn years we detected far less zeal in his behaviour; he became much quieter and far less eager to talk to us and learn new words. Yes, he still 'clouted' his plastic bird from time to time and attacked his cuttlefish and mirror like an out-of-control maniac sometimes, but generally he seemed far from happy.

Our concern grew regarding his depression so one day I attempted to cheer him up. I recalled a story of 'Whitey', my girl cousin and I visiting our local zoo while she was staying with us and Grandma. Whitey wore an elaborate silver bracelet belonging to her mother. We visited the bird house and were attracted by a large former sea-faring red parrot with a remarkable repertoire, but extremely verbose in undesirable swear word adjectives. He was tethered with a chain around one leg and perched in the open so he had some free movement. Suddenly, with utmost speed, whilst uttering, "Silver, silver, silver!", he launched himself at Whitey's hand, grabbing her silver bracelet in his beak, laughing so loudly and causing everyone to look round. He rolled the bracelet in his beak into a silver ball, completely ruining it, and would not let it go in spite of our serious attempts to retrieve it. Our battle was lost and so was the bacelet, lost for ever. Alarmed and terrified of what her mother might do concerning the disappearance of the bracelet Whitey decided her best option was simply to tell her mother she had mislaid it somewhere instead of it being eaten by a parrot. A few weeks later when she had returned home we sent her a photograph of that parrot, minus the silver ball, adding the caption, 'Telecarb Retae'. It sounds quite a plausible Latin type name for a parrot, doesn't it? However, reading backwards it reads 'Bracelet Eater'. Her mother never 'cottoned on' and neither did Whitey, without the 'enigma' machine to crack the code. Mickey thought this story very funny and nodded his head violently whilst sqwalking for a couple of minutes.
However his mirth did not last long. I decided to have it out with him once and for all. I called him over and he flew onto my outstretched finger. I asked him what was the matter and he became sheepish and embarrassed.
Perched on my finger he proceeded to tell me he was a love-sick bird. He was regretting his living a life of celibacy and longed for some female company. Further, he knew he was way past his prime and therefore would have a great problem attracting a hen even if he had the chance. He was 'sweet sixty five' and never been kissed and thought he might be a candidate for the Guinness Book of Records. He imagined what it would be like to 'bill and coo' like other normal budgies. Also he was worried he would be at a loss to know what to say and what to do to develop any meaningful relationship. After some thought I said I would have a word with our local pet shop owner and explain the situation. I must stress he was not the infamous pet shop owner from Bolton or Ipswich of Python Parrot Sketch notoriety. The man I knew was honest and perhaps he might agree for Mickey to visit some hens in a large cage in the shop for a while. It was quickly agreed and Mickey was so excited he recited all his favourite sayings at the top of his voice, with a new spring in his step.

A day before his little holiday he got really nervous about what he should do when actually meeting an attractive member of the opposite sex and how he could subtly get the message of his honourable intentions across to her. After all he had missed so much of life's experiences. I thought it time to lay it on the line for him to get a firm grasp of the 'art of flirting' so natural and essential in our world. I found my little book entitled, "How to tell if a girl fancies you" which I thought would do nicely to explain acceptable approaches to young ladies. Yes, it would have to be modified somewhat for the 'birds of the air' but perhaps it might help him.

"OK! Mickey, rule number one - Smarten up, have a good preen and when you see a hen you like keep your mouth firmly shut. At this stage it's not about what you say, it's about body language and chemistry. It's 90% unspoken attraction and just 10% what you say - if she likes the 90% it does not matter at this stage what you say, within reason, for the remaining 10%. If she does not find you attractive you can say what you like for as long as you like and you will be banging your head against a brick wall. Also, she has to be unattached and actually in the market for a suitor - if not she will reject your advances as unwanted. Don't make a nuisance of yourself.

Rule number two - At your age even if you like the look of a young bird don't waste your time - they want the fast talking, handsome and virile young male birds and therefore you do not stand a chance. Pick someone older who might be a widow or a spinster for some reason. They are rarer but you might still find a good looking hen out there who might actually be looking for a suitor. You may be just what she wants. You never know.

Rule number three - Make eye contact first, but careful, do not stare - it might put her off. Remember our eyes are the windows of our souls! Very important! When your eyes meet smile at her. If she smiles back you should be encouraged. If she looks away and then looks back and smiles again, you can be sure she likes you. Smile back at her to signal you like her. If she does the equivalent in budgie of flicking her hair and grooming herself to look smart, then she is keen. If you are a bit thick and cannot recognise her positive signals and she likes you then she will take the initiative. She will walk past you and fly or walk close to you for any reason she can invent so she can just to catch your attention. She will occasionally look you in the eye and smile at you. (Not sure how to recognise a smile in the budgie world though).

Rule number four - If when you are quite close you notice her feet pointing towards you then she definitely fancies you. If they are pointing elsewhere she doesn't find you attractive and is prepared for a quick get away.

Rule number five - Assuming she likes you it is time for you to pluck up courage to walk up to her, keep eye contact without staring obviously, look from one eye to the other and introduce yourself, something like, "Hello, my name is Mickey".

Now stop right there! She is an older bird and will be very familiar with all those corny and over-used chat up lines young birds will use like, 'Where have I been all your life?' or 'Your place or mine baby?'

Horrible! You have to be more refined for older ladies, something like, 'Hello, my name is Mickey. I hope you don't think I'm being forward but I would love a bit of company. I would be honoured if you would join me for a chat and share my millet and cuttlefish."

Stop! Wait for a reply. If she likes you she will accept - if not she will tell you to 'shove off'.

Rule number six - If she responds positively to your verbal overtures, keep it up, talk to her and listen to what she is saying and converse with her freely and naturally, all the time gazing into her eyes. If her pupils dilate she is beginning to really like you. You will be sending the same unconscious signals to her during this time. If she looks at your eyes then looks down to your beak and then back to your eyes she wants you to kiss her. Don't disappoint her, do it, but be a gentleman and don't get too enthusiastic too soon. Now that's enough I think or you will get confused. The rest is up to you."
With those ground rules in play and a game plan in his mind, Mickey was taken to the pet shop and introduced into the cage with hens. Nothing obvious happened for a while but Mickey seemed to pluck up courage and concentrate on one of the ladies. I did not want to embarrass him so I left him alone and went home. Next day I had a call from the pet shop owner to say Mickey was causing such a commotion that he thought I should collect him and take him home.
When I got to the pet shop I noticed feathers all over the floor and Mickey was sitting alone on one side of the cage while the hens were nattering away to each other.

When we got home my crest fallen Mickey was sulking in the corner of his cage. He said, "Women! why did I want to bother with them? They all ganged up against me and really clipped my wings - did you see all my feathers in the cage?"
Later told me what had occurred. Trust him to choose a young lady who from his description of her behaviour I can liken only to Miss Elizabeth Bennet from that marvellous book, Pride and Prejudice. Lady Catherine de Burg was quite correct in her description of Miss Bennet being a 'head strong young lady'. This bird promptly rejected all 'Mr Darcy's' advances, remarking that Mickey reminded her of a much older and uglier version of Mr Collins, whom she had rejected outright in the book. Mickey quickly tired of Miss Bennet's insistence of embarking on an intellectual sparring match to Elizabethan music, without even the sexual overtones of the original book, particularly after she informed him in no uncertain terms that nothing on this earth would induce her to marry him even if he was the last budgie on earth.
With that bombshell in his pipe which was smoking profusely he turned his attention to a nice yellow hen, an older bird, who seemed at first to respond nicely to his initial courtship overtures - his eye contact and body language seemed to work well up to a point, but he floundered dramatically when he opened his mouth thus ruining all his hard preparatory work. He boldly approached her to strike up conversation and it all seemed to go wrong.
"What did you say to her?", I enquired.
Mickey replied, "I went up to her boldly and said, "Who's a pretty, pretty, pretty boy then?"
"Oh Mickey you might have known that saying things like that would not exactly 'ring her chimes'. She wanted to hear something much more romantic like, 'What a lovely smile you have, I noticed you straight away when I entered the cage', or 'Now we are alone together I must say you have such lovely eyes; I am sorry if I appear to be staring a little too much but I find you so attractive I cannot help it'. That's what all women like to hear - they want to be flattered and not have some idiot coming over to them and flouting himself as God's gift to every budgie hen walking planet Earth. Did you talk to her in English or Budgie?"
"Budgie!" was the reply, "I took great care as well to do a literal translation."
"What did she say?"
"She said I was a self opinionated old fart who was old enough to be her father and she thought me an extremely arrogant male chauvinist pig!" Further she went on to say I was no Brad Pitt of the budgie world either. My word, didn't she slap my face?"
"The next one I liked was even older but still quite nice but I messed that one up as well."
"What did you say to her, then?" "I recited, "Georgie Porgy kissed the girls and made them cry!"
She looked at me very surprised and said, "Are you alright? You must be bonkers if you think that will 'turn my lights on'. I've heard better chat up lines in a mortuary! You certainly could not charm me out of a burning cage!"
The next hen Mickie tried he messed up as well. He asked her if she preferred Bach or Mozart to which she turned to him chewing a face full of millet, saying, "What mate! what a square, who let you in, grandad? I'm into 'punk' myself. Sling yer hook!"
His final attempt was with an ageing hen who had seen his miserable attempts at wooing the ladies. She said, chuckling to herself, "It's no good looking at me with those Mooney eyes, ducky. My candle went out years ago - never to be rekindled! You'd have to be superbird to relight them and you're not - sorry! You can give me a peck if you want, but it won't do anything to get my fire lit!"
Mickey realised he had blown it completely with all the hens and decided never to repeat the experience again. He resolved himself to bachelorhood, a state in which he accepted he would stay for the remainder of his life. He lived a couple of years more, no doubt often wondering how things might have been had he made a conquest, yet he became quite philosophical about the matter.
He became depressed again just before he died - one day he fell off his perch and was lost to the world for ever. Did he fall or did he jump, we often wonder?


  1. Oh, dear; oh dear...poor Mickey...what a sorry end for the poor old bird...He was absolutely remarkable...and shall be sorely missed! Thank you for your delightful, skillful and thoroughly captivating memorial to such a life as his! My bird-watching days will never be the same again :-)

  2. Classic bird wisdom. I love the dialogue in this story and the rules cracked me up.

    Also, thank you for the Silly Saturday tags. Both of them made me laugh. Especially "These books grow on you."

  3. Telecarb Retae !!! What a laugh! You tell a good tale!

  4. What a charmingly told tale, and poor old Mickey! I am sure he would have made any hen a fine and gracious partner - what a loss!

  5. Again...let me say, "Brilliant"...both bird and bard...Yours Truly, The Mutual Admiration Society

  6. You really had me hooked with the tale of Mickey. Poor bird. I'm so sorry to hear of his demise and misfortune in the romance department.

  7. Oh poor Mickey...its untrue then "twas better to have loved and lost than ne'er to love at all"? I'm so sorry that the stupid pet shop owner didn't think to put our dear Mick in with the likely older lass in a private conversational room...without young birds with no sense of decorum! Alas, Poor Mick, they hardly knew him!

  8. My, my...a visit from another talented blogger.
    May I call you Mr Eddie?
    Okay, Mr. Eddie I have already sent directives and memos to the Chief Operation and Executive Officers of the company I work for to reinforce these 6 RULES! (if applicable!)
    Oh they are hilarious!

    But how tragic...

    Isn't Sniffles and Smiles the sweetest?

  9. What a fun fun story to smile with. How cute how you wrote braacelet eater backwards and it looked so old Latin. I never would have known either.
    I love that you love birds. I think birds are so beautiful and I always thought I could be a bird type person. But a few years back I tried to own a cockatiel and failed miserably. He ended up with a very dominant attitude and my lack of being firm gave him room for successfully "owning" me.

    Blessings to you today.

  10. Enjoyed that - and your previous post!!

    This blog just gets better and better ....

  11. Thank you David, I am truly honoured, and thank you all for your very generous comments.

  12. Thank you Cherry for your encouraging comment.
    Please inform your Chief Executives that I shall be forwarding an invoice soon and warn them I will charge them an arm and a leg!

  13. delightful way to memorialize a dear friend. we should all be so lucky as little Mickey.

    btw.. i LOVED the story of the bracelet & parrot! too funny.. had me truely LOL


  14. Mr Eddie, congratulations! I knew it, i knew it! :-)
    Mickey would've been sooo proud! :-)

  15. Just had to give you my heartiest congratulations!!! So well-deserved....The bird and the bard are a terrific team!!!!! So honored to count myself a friend...Bravo!!!

  16. Well written. I enjoyed reading your post very much. I came over from authorblog. Congrats on the award!

  17. Congratulations on your POTD! Cute story and nice photos. I never knew caged bird courtship could be so complicated. A nice memorial to a dear feathered friend.

  18. Congratulations on POTD nomination and thank you for visiting my blog. It is a pity that Mickey's story did not have a happy ending. Hopefully he has met a lady in budgie heaven!

  19. Oh Mickey! I'm so sorry it didn't go the way you planned. We women are so difficult sometimes, aren't we? Say hello to Kiwi for me will you? He passed on as well but not before he was lose on the "fly" for awhile and was only led into captivity by the greater desires of his stomach. I'm not sure the stories of his escapades would be fit to tell here but I'm quite sure he would be happy to regale you privately.

    Eddie, this was priceless. I'm in love with Mickey. I have had two budgies and found them the same way on their departing days. Too sad. They are the most entertaining little birds but neither came close to the linguistic acrobatics Mickey performed. Thank you for sharing him with us!

  20. Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

  21. Just incredible about how smart a little bird like him is

  22. hello, I love the information in this blog about Mickey, the Love-Sick Budgie , I wonder if there are updates to this post, thanks!


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