I call it Toe Hunter.
It’s a pretty simple game, really – sedentary, even.
I just lie with my legs under the blanket and put the parrot, Cheeps, onto the back of the couch. She likes to sit up there and watch me.
Sometimes when I think she’s getting bored I’ll start up a game.
Now, one of the things I didn’t know about parrots is that they really, really hate human toes. I’m not talking about dislike. They hate them.
I’ll just poke my toes out of the end of the blanket and wiggle them and she’ll pitter patter down the back of the couch and bang, she’s on the attack. She doesn’t just want to bite those toes, she wants to kill them.
At the last instant I’ll duck my piggies back under their blanket and she will rage against the quilt, stabbing again and again and again with her beak.
It’s just so not like her. Really, she’s normally a very nice bird — all snugly and sweet, playing with her bells, riding on my shoulder or cuddling on my cheek.
But for some reason my toes just bring out the werewolf in that little gal. She may be just a little conure, but that beak can pack a punch.
I like it though. It’s an interesting reversal. She’s the huntress and I’m the prey. Humans don’t get that perspective very often. I suppose you could get an even deeper experience in that vein with a Great White shark, but I don’t have one and besides, that would mean getting up off the couch.
Bernie Smith tells me his parrot is the same way. Won’t go after his wife’s feet, he says, but he doesn’t dare take off his socks when Chico’s around.
One of these evenings Cheeps is going to get me of course and then I’ll probably be limping a little — well, OK, so I’m a drama queen – limping a lot and saying things like, “Stupid bird.”
Neil Horner is a regular columnist