Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday morning with Starlinka

Sunday morning with Starlinka

As bad as Stella is, Starlinka is her counterpart in goodness. Starlinka has never done anything bad in her entire life. She is always full of sweetness and light. And when she chooses to mimic something I say, it's always a compliment (my favorite being "You're so smart.").

Several years ago Starlinka started chewing the feathers on one of her wings so until she molted again, she was unable to fly...for years. That molt took a long time to get started. But now that she's able to fly again, it's bath time every weekend morning. There's a lot of hopping and flying around between my shoulder and wrist while I fill her bath dish with water in the sink. It has to be the right temperature. Sometimes she prefers water that's cold, sometimes something much warmer. She's very enthusiastic with the water so it becomes bath time for me too. She taught me early on that she likes baths and she likes showers and if she can have both at the same time, that is what she expects. I run the water in the sink and hold the bowl under it while it fills, and Starlinka jumps in and would empty it in no time if the water wasn't kept running.

And then it's drying time. I go sit at the computer and she chooses to sit on my shoulder while she shakes and preens and presses herself next to my neck to get further warmed up. It's pretty cute to have that little warm bird spend so many hours with me in the morning. Many times I'll forget she's even there until I feel her beak poke in my ear and then hear her say, "Whatcha doin'?"

Like I said, that girl has never done anything bad in her life except for last night and it could hardly be called bad if it was any other bird but Starlinka. I made dinner last night and she flew over and grabbed a bean and flew off. That wouldn't be too upsetting in this household but that food was hot and if she swallowed it, she would burn herself. So I chased her and chased her to retrieve that bean in her beak but that was too much fun for her. She'd hop on my hand but as soon as I reached for the bean, she was off again. At one point she just swallowed it. And then there was not such a good look on her. She opened her beak wide and I handed her her water dish. She immediately drank a couple sips and then a couple more sips and then a couple more and then everything seemed all right with her. This morning (whew!)...everything seems to be completely all right too. Relief. I'm thinking all that running and flying around cooled that bean down enough so that it couldn't hurt her. The little scamp. One thing I know, when it comes to bad behavior, she will never be able to compete with Stella. There's only one StellaFullaHella. Thank Gawd. But for Starlinka, everyone should have such a sweet little bird in their life who tells them they are beautiful, cute and smart all day long. :-)


Eve said...

I LOVE this post Maria!! You had me SO worried for a minute! I'm so glad Starlinka is ok....and as sweet as a pea!!! Who would ever think that a Starling could be such a sounds so mean of me but Starlings are not too loved in the States as far as the birders go. I would love to know the story of how you got her. Did you do a post on that? Well, give her my love and tell her that I'm sorry if I ever said anything bad about her Starling buddies and I'll be a better Starling steward from now on!!

Eve said...

OH I just clicked on Stella.....and nearly fell out of my chair!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Maria said...

Eve-I thought I had already written an introduction to Starlinka but I guess I haven't! That's something I'll have to do soon. Yes. Starlings are little stinkers because they're so darn smart. They have all sorts of ways to figuring out problems and since they're not native to the U.S., that causes a lot of native birds to have a hard time finding good nesting spots. They're also not too loved by farmers. They're also not too loved by people who park their cars under trees where starlings roost because their poop will etch a car's finish fast. The courthouse square in Independence, MO removed all of their trees because of the starling and parked car problem. But despite all that, they are wonderful little pets...if only they didn't poop every single minute. Did you know that Mozart had a pet starling? I wonder how he managed to keep himself clean without the help of baby wipes and paper towels!

And ha ha ha about the Stella links. I'm not exaggerating about her badness. I don't know why no one believes me. :-)

Leenie said...

Fun to see your sweet friend...and you. Starlinka must be a great companion. I agree those birds are wise and very good at mimicking sounds. Although, they can be pests, sometimes a flock will come in and graze across our lawn like a herd of cattle--removing plenty of grubs and bugs that would do damage to our grass.

We had several different pet magpies when I was a child. They are clever birds as well. But don't leave small shiny things loose or they will be gone.

Mental P Mama said...

I think you are a direct descendent of Dr. Doolittle!!!

Rusty said...

Most people underestimate the abilities and intelligence of birds. (Have you heard of Alex)? One bluejay around here even has ME trained. He will tell me when the feeder is empty and wait while I rush out to fill it. I'm sure he feels I'm probably a lot wilder than him. Grin. ATB!

TSannie said...

Sweet Starlinka.

Maureen said...

Pacino says what cha doing too, but my favorite is when he says see you later when he wants people to leave.

Kimberly said...

You are a brilliant ambassador to whatever/whomever you choose to focus on - who else could make me love the backside of a frog?

And excuse my peeking, but if you ever feel like sharing some information on the interesting items behind you, that would be welcome. (Can't help myself, I majored in interior design.)

Rural Rambler said...

Oh I believe you about StellaFullaHella. No doubting you. Don't you just love the smell of a wet bird snuggled up to your neck. Bud Bird, our green cheek smelled so good when he was wet. But I love the frito feet smell on black pad kitties too! Starlinka is in birdie heaven on your shoulder Maria. Hope the Sassafras stays happy on that land in Kansas all winter :) We got rain today!

Rural Rambler said...

Maria I had to come back and tell you that this picture/video thing freaks me out in all the good kinds of ways! It is just as though we were sitting at LatteLand and blah, blah, blabbing with you about any and every old thing. It was very nice. Sigh.

Maria said...

Leenie-Starlings sometimes join up with grackles to get rid of grubs in lawns...or whatever is trying to hide underground. The grackles are the ones that line up and move across the lawn in a straight line formation. The starlings are not so military. They're more like a frat party when they get together.

Magpies? Those birds are SO gorgeous!!!! And yes, I know how some bird species like to collect things. There was a guy on a starling site who had a pet bluejay (known as Jay Leno) who had a bad habit of removing things like computer keypad caps (!!!) and jamming those things in various tight spots in the house never to be found. Hahaha.

Mental. I've always liked his name and often I do just that. Ha ha.

Rusty-Oh yes. I've heard of Alex, the famous African Gray. What a smarty pants. I find all birds extraordinarily smart though. They have very hard lives outdoors. I don't know how they do it.

TSAnnie- It's true. Stalinka is full of sweetness and light. She's the best little bird ever. :-)

Maureen-HA ha. I forgot that story. I might have to teach that one to Starlinka. The closest thing she says to that is "Go to bed" or "Goodnight babies." But then, Pacino is a NYC bird. Starlinka is a midwest girl. :-)

KImberly-Oh my, what a nice compliment. I'm not sure how to explain what is going on behind me. The ceramic priest guy is a sculpture I purchased in Madrid, NM about 15 years ago. The artist is Lisa Smith. The hat comes off. The head comes off. And when you turn the piece around, it's an entirely different man. The devil girls I got in Austin, TX. They were made by Josefina Aguilar, or maybe a member of her family. The painted tin shelves were made by someone in New Mexico. I have to take them off the wall to find the signature..... Everything else is just the odds and ends from collecting. When it all came together, my theme for this particular niche was a collection of devils, good Spanish people and cabbages. It just happened. Sometimes you luck out when you assemble collections. Dang, I wish I had your email address--I could answer things more thoroughly for you if I had it. Email me again if you read this, k?

Pix-I already emailed you but whew! I managed to get around that writer's blockage today! Maybe that blockade was from having to write about Sassy (oh-wait, I mean MARY). Errrgh. That dog just puts me in a bad state of mind. :-P