April 19, 2007

Birds of a Feather

He carefully preened his tail feathers, adjusting and smoothing until each one met his standards. Perched on the edge of a white plastic table, squawking and folding his wings into place, he approached the coconut and began to peck at the milky white flesh. He ate with as much care as he groomed.
Tono was grass green, with a bright yellow beak and stunning turquoise tail feathers. For a parrot, he was huge, standing at least a foot tall, not including his 10” tail feathers, and the biggest parrot I had ever seen.
Birds fascinate me; pet birds that live outside of a cage even more. Tonio had full range of Restaurant Cocodrillos, yet he seemed content to stay on the table—a stomping grounds that was a far cry from his native Amazon, in terms of both quality and quantity. Sure he was at the beach, and life was probably pretty good, but I had to wonder why he didn’t try to test those wings and check out some of the tropical foliage that would have been so reminiscent of his native lands.
We were sitting on Playa La Ropa in Zihuatanejo, comfortably nested under an umbrella for about an hour before we noticed Tono in the restaurant near the bar area. His buddies—pint-sized versions of himself—were also free ranging parrots. They stood on a perch strung between two palm trees, their cage hung behind them with the door open so they could come and go as they pleased.
Restaurant staff played with Tonio as they passed by, tickling him as he lie on his back, squawking and clawing at them with enormous and slightly intimidating claws. The squirrel—who didn’t have a name—descended the palm tree and hastily began to eat his half of the coconut, seemingly in a hurry. Somewhere to be, I suppose.
As we were getting ready to leave, just before sunset, I glanced over my shoulder to the open-air bar, only to see a huge pelican standing there, as if he was waiting to order. “Pancho doesn’t like to fish,” said the waiter, “he is waiting to be fed his dinner.” Pancho the pelican was certainly demanding and seemed impatient about being served: every 10 seconds or so, he would let out a great squawk, his huge bill opening wide, flapping his enormous wings, apparently trying to expedite the service. I wanted to tell him, “Guey, you are in Mexico. Tranquilo,” but somehow I didn’t think it would calm his nerves any. Tonio just looked at him, as if he were shaking his head, with a slightly disgusted look on his face. I don’t think they are friends.

No comments: