I had in incredibly awful day on Thursday; rung up out of the blue to go to a new class – quite renowned for not taking relief teachers well. My day was spent trying to keep the majority of these 8 year olds on task, while at the same time juggling a few of the more behaviourally challenging kids. In particular there was one student who coped poorly with change (ie me). On that particular day he decided that he was not going to do anything for anybody – even senior staff who came down to support me. But I got through it with 23/24 kids happy.
Lunch time was another story – I was on duty in the middle area of the school where a lot of the grade 3/4/5 kids go to play. Much of that time was spent dodging rocks and fairly substantial sticks which were catapulted from a bushy area by a group of four 10 year olds. These kids were ‘red carded’ and once again senior staff had to race to my rescue. The sad thing is that if I looked like I was making a move in their direction one of them would stand their ground and keep pegging rocks at me – from about 5 metres away.
What a fun day. I dragged myself home at the earliest opportunity, left all my teaching crap in the car and looked forward to flopping myself down on the couch with a hot cup of coffee.
But lo and behold, fair reader; that simple dream vanished when I trudged through the front door, and glanced at Charlie the cockatiel. Usually he could be seen sitting on top of his cage and chirping his special chirp that he saves for the people he likes. On this day he was staying very, very still in the bottom of his cage.
I immediately thought the worst. He’d died. At eight-and-a-half years of age. I went closer to inspect the body, but when I got a metre away he came darting out his front door, lunging towards me with razor-sharp beak agape, ready to amputate any misguided finger that dare to enter his personal space – which had grown considerably since the morning. Dead indeed.
I foolishly ventured ever closer, and he nabbed my finger, biting into it hard, twisting and writhing his head as if to tear a piece of flesh just as a vulture strips a carcass. Normally a Charlie bite is nothing but a bit of a poke with the beak and a glare, perhaps accompanied by a half hearted hiss. This type of aggression was definitely new.
I started hating Thursday more and more, but then I spied it. At first I thought it was some sort of food or toy that someone had thrown into his cage, but while I was thinking ‘Who would do such a…’ my tiny brain started to slowly grind out some sort of plausable answer for what this olive-sized pinky-cream coloured rolling ball was that I saw bobbling about on the bottom of the cage. Derr. It was an egg!
Meanwhile, Charlie went back and pounced on it, roughly using his* beak to push it under his fluffy down, like a good mum should. Unfortunately the egg kept sliding out from under him, and it was a good two minutes before he’d backed into a safe corner of the cage up against a wall where it could neither pop out from under him from the front, back or side.
My presence was not appreciated.
That evening the egg was taken away from poor Charlie – who then spent most of the time before bed searching for it and trying to kill us.
Eventually curiosity got the better of us and we cracked it open, because nothing else would have come of it. I’ll post some pics later if anyone’s interested in the scale of it or anything.
Charlie was still very aggressive the next day, so I did some online research and discovered that handfeeding him could help. It took me 10 minutes to get him off his cage; I ended up using a teatowel to cover him up then taking him away from the cage. The darkenss of the teatowel helped to calm him, and the aggression stopped as soon as he was off the cage, happily sitting on someone or being scratched on the head as usual, or eating last night’s pasta. He’s still a bit funny about us being near his cage though while he’s there, but he’ll get over it.
* After we got over the shock of he actually being a she, we decided that Charlie was still a boy, who just had a momentary lapse of judgement. 😉 Who am I kidding? We had our suspicions all along. They’re just confirmed now!