Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

More Life With ‘Da Boids’

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Sophie, a female Solomon Islands Eclectus parrot, Eclectus roratus solomonensis,
who looks just like my own Elektra.

Image: Courtesy of Denise and Dave Bell/Eclectus House.

As I had mentioned earlier, I am playing host to a surprise house guest, so my birds are behaving in new and different ways than usual. The usually stoic Elektra, my Solomon Islands Eclectus parrot, Eclectus roratus solomonensis, has been especially mischievous.

Yesterday morning, all the birds were out and the hawk-headed parrot (still unnamed, but typically referred to as “Pipsqueek”), was flying back and forth between her cage (in the living room) and the top of my head (in the bedroom) while I was writing on my laptop.

“Come here,” said a soft voice. “Come here.”

It was Elektra. She was feeling neglected.

I went over to her cage, which is located just outside my bedroom door, stuck out my hand and she stepped aboard carefully. Elektra is nearly always a very polite parrot, and in fact, she enjoys watching BBC’s Planet Earth and Life of Birds series with me, so I felt safe allowing her to sit on my lap while I continued to write on my laptop computer.

Elektra watched the screen for a minute or two while I typed, then without warning, she flew off my lap and landed on the keyboard. I was so surprised that I froze for a few moments before I tried to get her off my computer. I stuck my hand in front of her, but she refused to budge. I pushed my hand against her breast, but she ignored me, so I picked her up.

Big. Mistake.

She grabbed tightly onto my computer keys with her claws and suddenly, three key caps falling onto the floor. I was horrified: besides being essential to my continued survival, my laptop is the nicest object that I own and now, Elektra had damaged it!

I dumped Elektra unceremoniously onto the top of her cage while taking a few moments to think the absolute worst about her and then I contemplated cooking her as the main course in one of several Thai recipees that I want to try.

Somehow, I managed not to scream, and miraculously, I managed not to utter even a single swear word, although I thought about doing both for most of the day. I glued the key caps back onto the silicon posts with superglue, but they do not work very well, and in fact, one key is altogether unusable, so it looks like I have to purchase a new keyboard for my laptop.



  1. #1 Drat
    December 6, 2007

    If that had been a cat, there’d be a surprise waiting for you in the toe of your boot.

    Ignoring your precious — shame-shame!

  2. #2 dmichael
    December 6, 2007

    It probably wasn’t necessary to glue the keys back on, usualy putting them back on the posts and pressing down firmly until they click into place does the trick. I’ve had keys pop off a laptop keyboard and gotten them back into place this way, though at the moment I don’t recall if there were little springs also involved, which could also be part of the problem. (The other being that the glue could be interfering with the action of the keys. Try pressing down firmly and listen for a click. If the glue makes this impossible, you might try popping one of the keys off (if possible) and see if the glue could be chipped off and then try to reseat the key. As I said, I don’t recall at the moment if there should be a little spring seated under the key, you might look and see if there are any lying around where the keys popped off, though at this point good luck with that. Otherwise, well, the good news is that keyboards are fairly easy to replace on a laptop, the bad news is that they’re usually specialty items and have to be ordered. If the laptop is still under a service contract that might be covered, otherwise, sorry. You could always plug a regualr keyboard into the laptop, though that gets kind of clunky.

    Enjoying the parrot stories, they’re great.


  3. #3 Chris' Wills
    December 7, 2007

    There are Thai recipes for parrots!?

    Do tell :o)

  4. #4 Suricou Raven
    December 9, 2007

    “I glued the key caps back onto the silicon posts with superglue, but they do not work very well, and in fact, one key is altogether unusable,”

    No no NO!

    Laptop keys are designed to be removable, and reattach with some difficulty. Its usually not as simple as push-and-click, and typically involves extremally fiddly work with tweezers that will make you wish for some additional hands. Definatly no superglue.

    Too late now though. You might be able to get the superglue off very carefully with a solvent, but its probably ruined now.

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