Posted by: Kimberly Dredger | August 24, 2010

Jocko and Me

I sit here on the patio, with Jocko in his cage occasionally saying “Hello?”  as if I had forgotten him.  He KNOWS I know he is there, but being outside, even under the roof, makes him a little nervous.  He keeps one eye on the sky, as it were, to make sure no other bigger bird is looking for him.  One time he saw a jet go over, low on its approach to land, and I swear he probably still has nightmares over it.  Poor guy.  

Jocko, for those of you who are newish to my blog, is our double-yellowhead Amazon parrot. He travels with me to the lake, when I go for my part-time job.  He would prefer to travel with Jim, because Jim is definitely THE MAN in Jocko’s mind.  In fact, in Jocko’s mind, I am “the other woman.”  This is not a problem for most of the year, but in the springtime, when a young bird’s fancy turn to thoughts of love, let me tell you, it is definitely NOT me that he is craving.  I walk past the cage and he LUNGES at me.  In the spring, only Jim can reach into the cage at all.  Ah, well.  And you know something?  When Jocko was a baby and we first brought him home, we both hand fed him, both cuddled and cooed to him.  But Jocko fell in love with Jim and that’s the end of the story.  Parrots bond with various types of potentials, and sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t.  Jocko just doesn’t care that Jim is already spoken for.

Jocko does speak English.  He speaks very appropriately, using words correctly in the situations for which they are intended.  He has never used foul (fowl?) language, despite lovinbrotherBill’s attempts to teach him a few choice words.  Rather, Jocko will sometimes say, as I enter the house, “Oh, HELlo.  Have you been a good baby bird?”  And sometimes when it is obvious that we are leaving for an overnight trip he will say, in a very sad little voice, “Well, bye-bye.”

There have been a number of interesting things that Jocko has said over the years.  For instance, years ago when my mother used to come up from Florida to visit us, Jocko named her “Mama’s mama.”  And for the rest of the year when Jocko would get into trouble and be sent to “Time-Out,”  (obviously back when we lived in a larger house and had a room for his time-out)  Jocko would have an imaginary phone call with Mama’s mama which would invariably run like this: “Hello, Mama’s mama?  Jocko’s a good bird.  I love you.  Jocko’s a GOOD baby bird!” 

Another time that Jocko really knocked our socks off was when we were watching the movie “Jurassic Park.”  Jocko, at that time, really loved to watch movies, and he thought that this one was tremendously funny.  He laughed hard, most of the way through it.  But in the scene where the dinosaur eggs are hatching, Jocko got very quiet.  He leaned forward on his perch and said, “Oh, he’s a GOOD baby bird!”  Now, the only time that Jocko had ever seen an egg hatch into a bird was at his own hatching, so this was really an amazing leap of intuition.  Our vet says that probably the makers of the movie used sound effects of birds hatching in the background, and that is what he was picking up, but even so…

All of these amazing things Jocko said a number of years ago.  And then there was a time when both Jim and I had a really bad cold and Jocko caught it from us.  We had to catch him up twice a day and give him injections in his little birdy breast, and put drops into the holes which are his nose on his beak.  And for some reason, though he lived through his cold, he never fully recovered his desire to speak very much.  Oh, he’ll still come out with something intriguing once in a while, but not anywhere near the extent that he used to.  And I miss that.  I miss the fact that he used to be a very verbal little member of our household.  Now, he chirps.  And he murples.  And he likes to be scratched on his head and he likes it when I sing him songs.  Unless it is the springtime, and then, well, I’m just “the other woman.”



  1. My Darling Sister

    It sounds to me like you should take Jocko out on some training runs, maybe you and he could bond that way.

    I hope you are not losing ground with this foot thing. Keep working on your bike and you’ll still have the endurance. One women who ran for the marathon for the USA olympic teaming did almost all of her training on a tread mill. She lived in Fairbanks, Alaska. I imagine she didn’t want to get eaten by a bear. Even an elite marathoner can’t out run a grizzly

    your lovin Brother Bill

  2. Hi! That’s Jocko, for sure!

    Hi Dave!

    PS, I sent you a parrot joke on email. It’s a little naughty, so be forewarned.

  3. Kimberly, Thanks for reminding me of the wry wisdom of your pint-sized standup comedian. He is truly a living treasure. I’ve known him in both his talkative and more contemplative life stages – maybe he’s reached the life stage where he prefers the written word. Have you tried giving him a keyboard? Give him a hug and nut for me.

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