Bird Brain

Although I am a bird lover and a pet owner, I am also a science major and I often think like a science major.  One of the things I’m obviously interested in is the psychology of the avian.  And having Erin down at school with me has provided the perfect opportunity for me to conduct some of my own mini science activities.

Obviously, I am not taking Erin into the labs and seeing what type of bacteria affects her or what type of medicine does what to her.  She’s not a testing bird, shes my fid!  But the way her mind works fascinates me sometimes.

Recently, I noticed that Erin seemed much more interested in my writing utensils.  And by interested, I mean she’s been climbing onto my homework and attempting to take my pencil out of my hand.  I have her out on my desk while I do my homework, so at first this was really annoying.  I started giving her one of my extra pencils with a worn out eraser on it to keep her occupied while I was doing my homework.  And little Erin, who never plays with anything, started going to town on the pencil!  She would bite at it, pick it up and toss it around, pull it around the desk, and even graduated to throwing the pencil off my desk into my trash can.  I didn’t really think anything of it until I accidentally gave her a pen one day to play with instead of her usual pencil.   Immediately, she was back on top of my homework, trying to take my pencil away from me.

Maybe this just seems really stupid, but to me it was kind of interesting; why does Erin only like pencils and not pens?

I started giving her other writing utensils.  Highlighters, markers, dry erase markers, pens that look different from my normal pen, colored pencils.  Out of everything I have offered Erin, she prefers my mechanical pencils best.  But why?  Markers and highlighters are much more colorful, pen tops are easier to chew, and colored pencils have exposed graphite!

My hypothesis is that because Erin’s cage faces my desk and she spends so much time out on my desk while I am recopying notes, working problems, and doing labs, Erin is seeing me play with the pencils and therefore, they are the best toy option.   Birds are observational.  They love to watch and learn.  I spend a lot of time scratching away with my mechanical pencils, and I’m sure Erin watches this and things that pencils must be the best toy ever.  

Do any of your birds make toys out of everyday objects that you use often?

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