Parrot Sci Fy

THE EGGS FILE

by Sally Blanchard
(This story is copyrighted and may not be published in any form by anyone anywhere without the written permission of Sally Blanchard.)

I

I read it in the paper today — something about birds not really being descended from dinosaurs because microscopic examination of their limb development showed no evidence of a thumb. I really don't know what to believe. Experts at the University of North Carolina say that dinosaur fossils show thumbs and this is evidence that birds did not evolve from them. Yeah, sure, they are talking about birds — ordinary birds, but do they really know about where the parrots came from? Or is this just another government cover-up — a distraction, a smokescreen to keep us from really figuring it all out. There are those of us with suspicions and even those who know. How many of us? I don’t know, but I know there must be others who have given this some serious thought. If there was only a way to get past the fear that keeps us from exposing our secret thoughts to each other. With a unified voice maybe people would listen to us before it is too late.

I hesitatingly try to bring this up at avicultural conventions. I seek out smart people — those who would seem to be sensitive enough to know. Sometimes in my clandestine questioning, I see a glimmer of recognition as if the person I am talking to understands. Perhaps they know the truth but just as quickly as I see the recognition in their eyes, they shut down, go into denial, and the curtain descends. They are just as afraid as I am to speak our thoughts — to expose our discoveries. If more of us could swallow our fears and speak to each other about the reality we can only guess at, we could put so many more pieces of this puzzle together.

 

II

I started out just like almost every bird person does. I was in a pet store to buy a dog toy and this beautiful parrot leaned towards me, stretching his body to its full length to grab my sleeve. As I made eye contact, he said: “I love you.” How could he love me? He didn’t even know me and I was not feeling particularly lovable at the time. As my eyes met his gaze, he repeated the words. I became mesmerized — no, hypnotized by the intense sincerity in his eyes. I decided to leave the store quickly but while I was driving home, I realized that parrot’s eyes had been etched in my brain. That night, after tossing and turning for hours, I had the most peculiar dreams about flying and being called to by a flock of parrots. At the office, the next morning, I could concentrate on nothing else. We were in the middle of an immense engineering project where my input was essential yet I could not even focus on the job at hand.

In the middle of a conference, I suddenly abandoned my co-workers and left for the pet store. As I entered the shop, I felt like a drug addict in desperate need of a fix. At first, I didn’t see him and I was devastated. Had someone else been so mesmerized by those intense eyes that they had rushed back to see him and had already taken him home? As my chin sunk into my chest in disappointment, a voice in my head said ‘look over here.’ Ah, thank heavens, there he was! A jovial earth-mother type of woman was coming out of a room with him. He was dripping wet with his browned feathers going every which way. She was drying him with a towel as she walked over to me. Her gaze was as intense as his as she said to me, “I knew you would be coming back for him and I wanted to get him all ready for his new home.”

How could she have known? Hell, I didn’t even know until I got in my car and started driving. I asked her, “How did you know I would be coming back for him?” She smiled and replied somewhat automatically as if she had replied to this question a million times, “Oh, he told me — they always tell me when they know.”

I wasn’t ready for this kind of ‘animal psychic’ mumbo-jumbo. After all, he was just a bird and I wasn’t ready to analyze what had so forcefully guided me back to this store. The earth-mother talked me into spending a fortune on buying a large cage, a swing, toys, foods, and the Companion Parrot Handbook. I gave her my Visa Gold card and signed the receipt. Although I had not even planned this purchase, the woman said it would be fine because I had been chosen. I had a sense of euphoria buzzing around in my brain as if I had gotten my fix and could only mentally digest part of what she was saying. She said I would be this young parrot’s surrogate parent and the job I would do raising him would determine his success in life.

It was only later that I could not really remember if she had indeed said something about the enslavement of the human race. Although she was jovial, she had been quite serious when she sent me off with my new companion. Perhaps she simply had a strange sense of humor. I read the literature and tried to follow her advice. I taught him the “UP” command and he quickly used it to tell me when he wanted me to pick him up. The parrot would call to me in his own language and seemed impatient when I did not understand. Then he would patiently repeat his requests in simple sentences in my language. It was so gradual that I did not even realize how he was taking over my life. I enjoyed him immensely and wanted to spend all my time with him. I had been told not to spoil him but it was difficult not to interact with him all of the time.

I thought nothing of taking him to work with me. At first, my co-workers were enthralled with him but he was just a novelty to them. It was only later that I began to realize that I had been chosen and they had not been. This fact provided me both a sense of superiority and a sense of insecurity. My relatives, friends, and coworkers had no idea about what it was like to live with a parrot. In fact, they began to treat me differently — more distantly as if I was their eccentric old black sheep cousin. They muttered to each other about me and shook their heads. I could hear them but could not tell everything they were saying. Sometimes I was sure I would hear the words ‘slave to that bird.’ My secretary would politely point out droppings on my shoulder or desk so that I could clean them up before a meeting or conference.

My life went on like that for a couple of years. The parrot and I would carry on conversations and more and more, the people in my life would watch, mumble, and shake their heads. No one seemed to understand and I needed desperately to find other people who shared my passion for my parrot. After a few visits to a local bird club, I attended some seminars and conventions about parrots.

I met people who had dedicated their entire lives to parrots. It was then that I began to sense something I couldn’t quite verbalize. At first, I couldn’t put my finger on it but the uneasiness began to occupy my thoughts more and more.

Why would a whole group of intelligent people devote their entire lives to birds? Yes, the parrots were beautiful creatures. Yes, they were very smart animals who learned from their interaction with us. And yes, they did make terrific companions. But it seemed so much more than this?

 

III

The incredible answers came to me during an eco-tourism trip to South America. We were deep in the rainforest watching macaws and other parrots feed on the clay cliffs along a winding jungle river. Our guides had vehemently told us to stay with them. But I was not in the best shape and the heat and humidity quickly exhausted me. I sat for what only seemed like only a minute on a tree stump along the path. Maybe I dozed off but when I tried to follow the group, I had lost my sense of direction. I followed what I thought were the voices of my group and came to a bluff overlooking a clearing. As I headed down the steep slope, I realized there was a well-camouflaged facility at the bottom of the hill. The voices I had heard were dozens of people in uniform scurrying about performing their duties like ants on the kitchen counter. Near each group of men, a brightly colored macaw sat on a stand directing their endeavors.

Suddenly there was a whooshing sound and huge doors on the roof opened. For a brief moment, there was a shadow above me and an ovoid shape flew into the building before the doors quickly shut. The men and the macaws hurried into the building. Although I was huffing and puffing, I managed to climb down the steep incline and make it to a window on the side of the building. It was there that I saw the homely featherless creatures with big soulful eyes come out of the space ship to be greeted by the macaws. The technicians in special nursery garb received orders from the macaws and quickly placed the new visitors in comfortable, heated chambers. They were then spoon fed a fine gruel which they accepted readily bobbing their heads enthusiastically as they ate.

I was so absorbed by the activities in the building, I didn't notice the two uniformed men who grabbed me from behind. A hood was placed over my head and I was taken inside the building and interrogated. Since I lived with a parrot, they had a computer file with my name and they knew everything about me. It had never occurred to me that my trusted parrot was taking note of so many aspects of my life. I was told that I would never be believed and that if I tried to tell anyone what I had seen, I would be immediately discredited in my work and would not be able to find a job anywhere. Who would believe me, anyway?

The next thing I knew, I was sitting back on the stump. Our guide was standing over me asking if I was all right. He explained to the others that the heat and humidity must have gotten to me and I must have passed out. I was helped up and carefully guided back to the center. They must have covered everything up very carefully as I saw no sign of the path I had gone down to the facility. The rest of the trip I was watched like a hawk by the people at the center. Of course, they presented themselves as ornithologists and researchers and their avid attention towards me was presented as concern for my health. Every time I tried to talk to any of the other bird watchers for any length of time, one of the young birds they had supposedly raised at the center — they called them ‘chicos’ — would come over and do something terribly cute to distract them from my conversation. How could my apprehension compete with an adorable young macaw untying their shoe laces or taking the buttons off of their shirts?

Of course, there was no indication to anyone else that such strange things were happening just a little over a mile away. The staff at the center was far too careful to allow anyone else to wander off. I returned home to California doubting my own sanity and wondering if I had just had another one of my very strange dreams. I even tried to share the experience with my parrot but even he acted as if he didn’t understand a word I was saying.


IV

But you tell me — how would an intellectually superior species (perhaps from another planet or even from another time) with much less strength and a bit less physical dexterity establish control over the human species? Doesn’t it make sense that they would plant their young among us and have us raise them? In this manner, don’t they enslave us and have us do their every bidding? Whole colonies are being raised by devout breeders who devote their entire lives to doing nothing but taking care of young parrots. Isn’t that proof? I mean what person in their right mind would spend their entire life raising the young of another species?

When will these parrots decide to completely take over? This is another answer I can not even guess at. There are records of people raising parrots thousands of years ago so it could still be in the future but my guess is they are getting ready. Why? I don’t know, but maybe it is because they are fed up with the way we are running the planet — or is the right word ruining? Or maybe it is just their time and they certainly don’t need thumbs to rule the world. They are certainly smart enough to do a better job than we are especially when it comes to the health of our planet.

If you think you taught your parrot the "up cue" but he is now using it to get you to come over and pick him up, perhaps you should begin to worry? Maybe, just maybe, if you watch him very carefully, you will begin to understand what I know.

But then, maybe it is too late ...


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