"DAD, COULD I PLEASE HAVE A DRINK OF WATER?"by Sally Blanchard
I’ve met a lot of smart African Greys and could tell hundreds of great stories about them. Although I still feel compelled to say that my late grey Bongo Marie was the smartest parrot I ever met, some of my favorite stories are about Jason. (Whodee my present Grey is not a great talker but makes up for this with a great repertoire of wonderful sounds and an exceptionally cuddly personality.) Jason lives with Gordon in a fifth-floor walk-up apartment on one of those famous San Francisco hills. Jason’s friends include Jeremy, a Lesser Sulphur-crested Cockatoo and Molly, an Eclectus. Gordon provides a marvelous home for his three parrots and has a wonderful aviary on the roof of his apartment building full of avian treasures. One of Jason’s favorite pastimes on the roof is bathing in a shallow paella pan that often has fresh greens floating in it.A few years ago I was visiting with Gordon and a few of his friends. He had fixed a delicious dinner and afterward we sat and visited. Gordon was talking when Jason placed his beak and cheek against Gordon’s cheek and said, “Dad, could I please have a drink of water?” Gordon, said, “Jason you will have to wait a minute, I was talking.” In a few minutes, Gordon got up and went into the kitchen to fetch Jason a class of filtered water. Jason put his beak in the water and made human drinking noises. Then he actually took a few sips putting his head back to swallow. With water dripping from his beak, he again placed his beak against Gordon’s cheek and sweetly said, “Thanks Dad, that’s great!” After dinner, we all went into the living room. You could see a beautiful view of a much of San Francisco and it was beginning to get dark. Gordon placed Jason on his perch on a window frame. Jason fluffed his feathers looked out towards the city and emphatically stated, “See all the pretty lights!” Being quite a little gentleman, Jason will spend time with almost anyone who visits his home. Gordon feeds his parrots nothing natural, mostly organic, foods. Jason has the most beautiful grey feathers that I have ever seen. In the light, if you look closely at the feathers on his back, he is not a grey parrot. His feathers vibrate with the iridescence of blues, violets, and magenta. It is the combination of an exceptional diet, time in the aviary on the roof, and the fact that Jason always takes advantage of his bathing opportunities. I have not seen Jason for several years now but I trust that he is still the clever, polite, exceptionally handsome and well-loved fellow he was when I met him.