Once upon a time I didn't have any grandchildren to come over and visit, and my own children were old enough to be in school. I wasn't working at the time, and I was lonely.
I decided to buy a parakeet. In those days, Wal-mart had a pet department--with real live pets. I drove to a nearby store, and picked out a pretty blue parakeet with a white head. I knew from my past experience with birds that it was a boy bird (because he was blue over his beak), so I decided to name him "Sparky".
I once knew a lady who had a talking parakeet named Spunky. I was so impressed by that and I always wanted a talking parakeet! It's rare to be able to teach one to talk, but it is possible. I decided to try to teach Sparky to talk.
I began by letting Sparky out of his cage in the bathroom because the area was small, and it had a large mirror. Birds love mirrors! Within a few days, Sparky was flying about, then landing and sitting on my finger.
After Sparky felt comfortable with me, I'd stand in front of the mirror and talk to him. I'd say the same things over and over. Before long, Sparky was landing on top of my head and playing in my hair. Then he would try to "kiss" me with his beak while sitting on my finger. Eventually he would pluck at my eyebrows while sitting on my finger.
I kept Sparky's cage hanging near the kitchen, and while I was washing dishes I'd talk to him--saying the same things over and over. It wasn't long before Sparky began to talk! His first sentence was "Sparky's a sweet bird!" It was as exciting as hearing a baby say "da da" for the first time!
Sparky's language wasn't plain at first, but I could tell what he was saying. Over time, his words became more pronounced, in fact he learned to talk quite well. He could whistle (a cat call), and he said at least six or seven different phrases. Some of his phrases were "Hello, Sparky Bird!", "Give Sparky a kiss!(followed by the kissing sound), and "Sparky's a pretty bird".
I knew that Sparky was smart, but one night he proved he was more intelligent than even I realized. By then, Sparky was allowed to fly all over the house at certain times of the day. He enjoyed our company, and usually stayed near us when he was roaming freely.
My daughter had a guinea pig named "Scooter Pig", and she kept him in her bedroom. One night Sparky flew in the bedroom, landed on Scooter's cage, and sat there. In a few minutes Sparky said "Hello, Scooter Pig". I am not kidding!!!
I assume Sparky had heard me say those words enough that he learned them from me. That same amazing thing happened on several occasions, and I even have a photograph of Scooter Pig and Sparky together, but so far I haven't been able to locate it!
Sparky was an active member of our family. When we took vacation trips in our camper, we brought Sparky along. Of course we also brought Scooter Pig.
Scooter Pig's life span was much shorter than Sparky's, and after a while he died. I eventually went to work, and left Sparky home alone. I felt sad for him, and decided to buy him a girlfriend.
Sparky wasn't really impressed by his girlfriend, a green parakeet named Belle, and her presence made him stop talking and become less tame. I'd read once that birds are hard to tame if there is more than one--it's true.
Sparky lived for seven years before he passed away. I was very sad to lose my little feathery friend. Sparky truly was a "sweet bird"!
Be sure to click on the link below to visit other participating blogs, and read their "pet-related" stories. Thanks so much to Brent Riggs for hosting Tuesday's blog hop!