Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

My Parrot Has A Hobby

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Orpheus, a six-month-old red-fan (hawk-headed) parrot, Deroptyus a. accipitrinus, who lives with me. (flash, ISO, no zoom).

Image: GrrlScientist 2008.

I managed to capture a few pictures of Orpheus last night which I would have shared with you then, except that my wifi connection disappeared (boo!), so I had to wait until tonight. This picture, like all of the pics I captured last night, are not very good because my parrots have gotten wise to the ways of photography and have proven to be very difficult subjects. However, this image is a vague representation of one brief moment when Orpheus paused in his chewing, looked up at me with his cheek feathers fuzzed out, and smiled. I didn’t capture the entire effect here, unfortunately, but I think you get the idea (he’s just so CUUUUUTE!).

Here’s another picture (below), probably the best I’ve gotten of him so far (and that’s not saying much since this is really not very good), but at least his face is in focus and he is not a big blur because he decided to run away at the last nanosecond. Doesn’t he look mischievous?

Orpheus, a six-month-old red-fan (hawk-headed) parrot, Deroptyus a. accipitrinus, who lives with me. (flash, ISO, no zoom).

Image: GrrlScientist 2008.

In this picture, you can tell he is a very young parrot because his eyes are nearly uniformly dark, instead of having an orange ring around the pupil (his iris is actually grey right now).

And here he is again (below), indulging in his favorite hobby: destroying the wood card table upon which my laptop rests when I am at home. Why can’t he instead chew on things that I give him, that I buy specifically for him to chew up?

Orpheus, a six-month-old red-fan (hawk-headed) parrot, Deroptyus a. accipitrinus, who lives with me. (flash, ISO, no zoom).

Image: GrrlScientist 2008.

As an aside, this wood card table — which is a solid piece of wood, not pressed wood or plastic wood or anything weird like that — is one of those treasures that I picked up off the streets of the upper west side of NYC one day. There are many things to love about NYC, and one of them is that most residents throw away things that are better than what I can afford to buy new!


  1. #1 Cuttlefish
    January 23, 2008

    From the pictures you kindly have shown
    I can see why you might choose to moan–
    It’s an avian curse,
    But it still could be worse:
    He could chew on a cuttlefish bone!

    (That is one beautiful bird….)

  2. #2 Jan Peterson
    January 24, 2008

    What a cutie. I went to NY about 4 years ago and loved it. It is a great place and your bird is soooo pretty.

  3. #3 Andrea Wieboldt
    January 24, 2008

    Hawk Heads like to chew, as you know. What you need to be concerned about is that the table may be pressed wood with toxic glues in it. If so, he may get sick and even die from chewing on it. I would not like to see this happen to a bird I raised nor any bird.

    The Breeder

  4. #4 "GrrlScientist"
    January 24, 2008

    andrea: this wood table is real wood, a solid piece of wood and not pressed wood, as is my futon frame (that other chunk of wood that you see in the picture), so no reason to worry. also, i do NOT want my two pieces of furniture reduced to matchsticks, so you can rest assured that i am eager to keep orpheus from chewing up my things.

  5. #5 Tlazolteotl
    January 24, 2008

    My birds seem to have a similar hobby – chew on anything but what you are supposed to!

  6. #6 Andrea Wieboldt
    January 25, 2008

    Devorah, Young, still being hand fed, Hawk Heads managed to chew a door frame in my bird nursery They did a lot of damage in a short period of time. I hope your table doesn’t get so damaged. Time to give him more to chew on! Good luck finding something he likes as well as your table.

    The Breeder

  7. #7 Luna_the_cat
    January 25, 2008

    Oh, his colors are gorgeous!

  8. #8 Caroline Greenblatt
    January 25, 2008

    Love your site and the pic’s of Orpheus. His colors are beutiful. Have you tried putting a mix of uncooked lentiles, beans, rice, popcorn etc. in the areas that he likes to play. I’ve discovered that my Tomi-Hawk will spend his time snapping those rather than chewing on my window sills.

  9. #9 "GrrlScientist"
    January 26, 2008

    orpheus’s new favorite toy is a pen — not just any pen, either, but ONLY the pen that i am using.

    not sure about using uncooked lentils and whatnot since this is my bed that orpheus likes playing on.

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