42. Lessons from a bird brain

Horatio outputting wisdom


Much has been written on these pages about Malka, our little shih-tzu-dachshund cross who joined our family a little over a year ago and from whom many lessons have been learned.

Today I would like to introduce you to another family member who has been with us for four years now and who recently taught us a lesson from which each of us could benefit mightily should we dare to apply it to our own lives.

We have a little parrot, a Meyer’s parrot, named Horatio who has lived with us since he was six weeks old.

We acquired Horatio shortly after Ceasar, our African Grey, who had shared a home with Gimalle for twenty-eight years relocated to that big cage in the sky leaving us both heartbroken but with a plethora of hysterically funny memories to treasure.

A quick story about Ceasar before I continue.

Gimalle had always gone to great lengths to ensure that Ceasars vocabulary was pristine and that she was never exposed to words that could not be repeated in church.

At some point though, Gimalle had begun playing Hearts on her computer which was located in the den alongside Ceasars cage and, it seems, Gimalle is not a gracious loser.

Several months after the Hearts playing begun we had a flood in our condo. A coupling burst in the radiator in our bedroom releasing 190 degree water mixed with Glycol through our condo destroying everything in its path.

I had just left for the office when I received a frantic call to come home and by the time I got out of the elevator the cloud of steam, which I at first thought was smoke, was so thick that I could not see down the hallway to our door and for a moment I was panic stricken.

By the time I was half way down the hallway I saw Gimalle was standing, staring helplessly at the destruction of everything she owned, the fire alarm was ringing loudly we could hear the sirens of approaching fire trucks.

She saw me approaching and said “I’ve got to get Ceasar,” and then she disappeared into the condo (remember, there was 190 degree water pouring along the floor) before I could say a word.

As I reached the doorway I saw Gimalle leaving the condo holding something in her hands and through the steam, all I could hear was a little voice repeating “sh*t, sh*t, sh*t.”

Back to Horatio. 

Several months ago his behaviour underwent a radical change and he began an incessant, relentless torrent of non-stop squawking.

In between squawking he would snap at us whenever we approached his cage and would bite us every chance he had, frequently drawing blood.

Naturally this was very worrying; particularly for me as I tend to faint at the sight of blood, especially when it’s mine, and so off to the vet we went in search of either solutions or  intensive parrot psychotherapy.

The first question the vet asked was “Have you changed his diet?” It seems we had. Gimalle had recently begun giving him high sugar content treats. He had really taken to this, devouring every morsel in his bowl to the exclusion of his other food and, in essence, placing him on a permanent sugar high.

Following the vets advice Gimalle immediately placed Horatio back on his former diet and within a few days he was back to the fun, playful loving bird he had always been. 

The lesson of what had happened was completely lost on me until Gimalle pointed it out.

Here’s the lesson and it’s a huge one: change the input and you will change the output.

Amazing isn’t it.

How many of us spend countless days, if not years, of our lives feeding ourselves a constant diet of negative self talk, criticism, blame, guilt, ridicule and other venomous junk foodthoughts and not understanding why the output, the results, in our lives are perfectly matching the diet, the input we are regularly feeding ourselves.

Imagine how amazingly different the output in your life would be if you changed the input.

A friend of Horatio’s just published a book called “Life sinks or soars – the choice is yours,” that explains all this stuff. 

Horatio recommends you pick up a copy by calling 1 888 232 1136 or by emailing rael@raelkalley.com 

And he’s one smart bird.

Till we read again.

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