Animals are some of the best mentors. If they happen to be my animals (and I use the term “my” loosely), even better.
Here is an example. Lately, my always hyper-alert 18-year-old parrot, Pearl, has adopted a new strategy to address things that scare him.
In past years, Pearl would hiss, or strike, or flatten his crest, or raise his crest, or shriek and launch from whatever perch he happened to be occupying when the scary thing appeared.
Sometimes he would even do all of these things at once, ensuring his mommy got a good scare also.
But now, he sings. Yup. My parrot sings to what scares him.
For instance, the other day my young tortoise, Malti, suddenly developed a keen interest in him. We were all outside on the lawn, and Malti saw Pearl in his little travel cage and decided to go and investigate.
At first, Pearl wasn’t too keen on getting up close and personal with his strange shelled sister.
So he went through his usual maneuvers, issuing his most intimidating hisses, flattening and raising his crest, letting off a shriek or two. But then all of a sudden everything shifted.
He started to sing! He sang and sang and sang to Malti as she gently mouthed the strange white cage bars and checked him out from feathery crest to cute pink feet.
I was very close, of course, filming the whole thing but also watching carefully to make sure the interaction stayed positive and safe for all concerned.
Because of this, it wasn’t until later that I began to realize just how profound Pearl’s display had been.
Not only that, but his debut performance was so positively received that he has since reprised the show on several other occasions, singing to Malti again, singing to my toes (multiple times), singing to my folks’ dachshund, Flash Gordon, just singing and singing and singing.
No one seems to know what to make of it – this tiny 77-gram feather fluff who sings to what scares him. He sings until they aren’t scary anymore, or until he isn’t scared anymore, or both.
As for me, I feel inspired to do the same!
Today’s Takeaway: How do you respond to fearful beings or things? Do you fight? Or flight? What do you think about Pearl’s response?
P.S. This post is from our free flock e-zine for July, “Love & Feathers & Shells & Me.” Click HERE to join our list! 🙂