Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • I had a parrot, actually he was a Conure. His name was Rainbow. He was sweet. Coffee was his crack. It wasn't always this way, he was a good clean bird at first. He loved to nuzzle my neck, drink water from under my tongue by sticking his entire head in my mouth, and coo and mimic me gently and sweetly.

    When I turned 8 I had a party at the skate rink. The usual- cake, ice cream, friends, disco, you know the routine. Then my father brings in a cage under a towel. A Conure! I was amazed. I did not ask for this, but it is very cool, and no one I know had one! He was all green with red, yellow and orange feathers on his head and neck. So I named him Rainbow for obvious reasons. I took to teaching him English and a few Spanish cusswords, only because if you lived in my fathers house you had to know a few to understand the belligerent rants and raves my dad would scream at Rush Limbaugh on the dismantled car stereo tacked to the wall in our mangy cabin. Why he listened to someone who made him so mad he had to jump up and down at while pointing at the radio on the wall and screaming obscenities I don't know. It was entertaining at the least and an invitation to go outside. So, back to the tale, the cusswords we tought him were along the lines of "Fuck!" "Pinche Cabron" "Chinga tu madre" and others. Those were the most commonly used. I taught him to say nice things also like "I love you", and "Sweet birdie", and "coffee".

    The final word was due in part to the fact that my father every morning of my birds 15 years in our house had Rainbow on his shoulder while he ground his morning beans. The bird would squalk so loud in wanting one that it became deafening and intolerable. My dad would give him a little flick when he squalked which sometimes shut him up and sometimes resulted in a bleeding earlobe. He wanted a coffee bean so bad that he would not let you avoid giving him one at all, because if the waiting went on to long he would simply fly off your shoulder onto the counter and grab it himself. So I taught him to say "coffee" and he would politely ask for a bean, which my dad would give him, and he would crunch away at it breaking it into small niblets, half of which fell onto my dads shirt and onto the floor. Never the less eating a coffee bean the size of a football, well half of one in the end, is a lot of caffeine. At first it was merely comical to see the bird on my dads shoulder after a few minutes bob his head up and down repeatedly about a hundred times, meniachley "giggling" as we called it which was sort of a low "hehehehe", and then fly from his perch on my dads shoulder up to his cage where he ate his breakfast and cuddled his toys. But after a while we grew concerned. He began getting hyper and really annoyed if the coffee grinding was late, or delayed at all. He was like clock work that bird, waiting as the business of the house began in the morning, he would repeat "coffee, coffee" until my dad would open the cage stick his hand in and let Rainbow walk up his arm using his beak to grab his shirt walking hand over hand as he climbed to his perch. My dad had permanent shit stains on the back of all his shirts where Rainbow easily and uncaringly let it squirt.

    After a few months of this we began noticing a lot of feathers on the floor and the bottom of the cage. He was a fastidious preener, but this was odd. I said one day to my father that I thought he was bored and we should let him out more. But that did not help it just made more work to wipe bird shit from every chair back and couch arm in the house. One day I was sitting there contemplating my birds thin feathers, and it dawned on me that he was jacked on caffeine and that he was becoming neurotic and twitchy. He pulled his own feathers out because he was so frigin high on coffee he did not know what to do with himself. But my dad was not willing to stop the morning ritual and found it amusing that my bird would get such a rise out of eating a coffee bean that he began feeding him beans throughout the day when I was not home, because when I was there I just would not allow this to happen.

    So anytime a friend or neighbor came over my dad thought it a cute and amusing party trick to give Rainbow a bean to snack on and watch him go bonkers squalking obscenities and bobbing up and down like a freak. The he would ramble on about the benefits of the antioxidants in coffee or some such nonsense when the visitor would ask why we did not just stop giving him the coffee. Over the course of about a year the bird became self inflictedley naked from the chest down. He had no feathers on his legs, butt, belly or chest. He had wings still and since he could not reach his own head that was still colorful and full of feathers. He looked like a plucked scrawny chicken. No joke!

    This was embarrassing but became a normal, hmm, wrong word, a sort of accepted thing in the house. We would keep his cage away from the window in the winter and put extra blankets over his cage at night to keep him warm. My friends would all laugh and taunt him. If you touched his nude flesh he would bite the shit out of you, and then giggle meniachley.

    I loved my bird though and we would sit and share fruit or crackers or nuts. We would sing nonsensical little songs. I would say "hey, hey, ho" and he would mimic me. If we turned on the radio to music he would "dance" and "sing", humming and cooing to the tune, bobbing his head up and down and even side step a bit. We were quite a pair me and Rainbow. We even ventured out into the yard everyonce in a while and he would stay on my shoulder most of the time. There were a few scary times where he got a wild hair and flew off of me up into the fruit trees or beyond the yard We would spend hours calling for him, coaxing him down with treats and finding ways to capture him. All the while I would cry and mope to my father that I would never get him back, but we always did, or he would get cold as it got dark and come back on his own even knocking on the door to let us know he came home.

    He lived for over 15 years, naked all the while, even after my father finally stopped giving him coffee beans once we moved his cage into the pool table room. I got a call from my dad a few years ago telling me Rainbow had died. He went to feed him one morning and there he was the poor scrawny bird lying at the bottom of his cage all in his naked glory.
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.