Sunday, July 6, 2008

Latest Monk Parakeet and Indian Ringneck Acquisitions

For a number of weeks now I've been thinking about purchasing another new bird (ever since the last two flew the coop). I didn't want to make the same mistake I made last fall when I bought an adult Indian Ringneck (previously misidentified as a Green Conure since I only knew the Chinese name) which proved over more than half a year to be totally untamable.  So I waited until I got back from a week of meetings in order to purchase another baby bird that will need to be hand-fed 3 or more times a day for a month. This time I had been thinking about getting my first Monk Parrokeet, which locals tell me are very talkative and playful (see also the invasive Feral Monk Parakeet Community in Chicago)

During this past week of meetings, I phoned three bird shops I've visited recently, but all of them came up empty. Then I looked up all eight or so of the bird shops in Chiayi City and called them one by one. Only one shop was open that had them in stock, and the $3,000 they quoted was 700 NT more than what I expected.

I had dropped off the Indian Ringneck with friends in Guanziling (關子嶺) in TaiNan County and yesterday after the meeting ended I drove back to visit them and pick it up. Walking back up the road there in Guanziling, we saw another Indian Ringneck in a cage which was happily playing with a baby bird and saying "hello" repeatedly. My bird, in contrast, has never spoken a word and only wants to kill other birds and attack intruders! Then and there I made my final decision: Since ChiaYi was on the way home, why waste any time?

The shop owner told me she wanted 3,500 for the baby Monk, but when I told her the other price her shop had quoted earlier, she came down to 3,000. I couldn't get her down any lower, but when I mentioned I had an adult female Indian Ringneck sitting in the monkback seat of my car she dropped down to 2,000. So I was able to trade in the mean bird which doesn't like people and hopefully can start all over by training the baby myself! (I'm so glad God doesn't deal with his prodigals this way, or that my parents didn't do this to me!).

conure Since BeiGang was also on the way home and I knew the shop there presently had a baby Indian Ringneck, I forked out another 1,500 NT to make up for the one I just got rid of. The shop owner had already attached a chain to its foot so maybe I'll be buying a bird stand instead of caging it up all the time, but I don't know if I want it to lose the freedom of walking around in the cage either.

Hopefully before I head overseas in September I'll have two tame, talkative birds. While not as expensive as the larger parrots, these birds aren't nearly as cheap as the 200 or 300 NT parrokeets or lovebirds. I will absolutely NOT be spending any more money on birds the rest of this term. Hopefully these two will both survive to adulthood. I observed today the Indian Ringneck can fly already so it looks like it at least will make it.

Noisy, Dirty Days on the Horizon

Although there have been lots of nighttime bugs,  loose dogs, noisy animals and assuming neighbors to deal with periodically since I moved to this agricultural environ last August, one of the strengths of this neighborhood is that we live on a dead-end street with very little traffic. Kids can play or ride bicycles outside without parents or grandparents worrying too much about high speed traffic,  and adults can stand out in the middle of the street chatting as they take in  the late afternoon breeze or cool night air.

That's all about to change. For years there have been rumors that the government plans to widen the road and connect it with another road, thus making it the preferred bypass route for reckless trucks and other high speed traffic wanting to avoid town.

For years the neighbors have discounted those rumors. But in the last few weeks  they started hearing them again. And then this past week there was a public announcement that any junk left standing on the opposite side of the street would be confiscated (there are no residences on the other side of the street, but LOTS of stuff placed on public land which people have claimed as their own).

junk1 Well, today people have been moving stuff, and I expect that as early as tomorrow the construction crews may be moving in. It will be noisy, and very very dusty for months to come. And even after all the construction is finished, those nighttime neighborly chats at 9, 10 or 11 pm will probably never be quite the same. junk2