Jazz is preparing for our next motor home jaunt. That means Mama (me) has had to get busy putting together his amusements. The truth is that he doesn’t find much interesting about the store-bought stuff, which can be construed as a blessing since most of it costs a bundle. It seems that the commercial parrot toys are too big and clunky to play with and the “little bird” toys don’t look sturdy enough to be safe. So what does he find interesting?Rope rates high on the list. I’ve tried several different kinds, most about a half inch in diameter. If you’ll remember, Jazz has a four-foot tall, ribbon-wood tree. Ten feet of rope, with single knots tied at about eight inch intervals, now stretches from the tree to the ceiling of the porch. Jazz lives to climb that rope, hang from it and use it to attack toys attached to the knots by quick links. I’ve created a knotted rope for the motor home which will clip to his travel cage and reach upward to the rope perch between the overhead cabinets.
Plastic chain, available in some hardware stores, can be purchased by the foot (about 65 cents per). I use four and five foot lengths of this as alternates for the rope; it’s easily climbed and will accept the addition of toys. The chain is also easily snipped, allowing you to create chain clusters. The snipped links will receive a bead or two and hook on the other links.
Beads, the love of Jazz’s life. I buy big bags of assorted sizes in the craft store. Both wooden beads and plastic are acceptable. These are strung on nylon string and leather thongs. Since Jazz particularly likes the little wood ones that he can snap in half, a few of these are included in every toy. Sometimes I add assorted buttons to the strings and clusters. I have yet to find a knot that Jazz can’t untie, so occasionally I hear the rain of an entire string cascading to the floor of cage or tree. Bead strings are often added to plastic chain clusters.
The baby toys manufacturers are now producing plastic links in a variety of shapes and colors. Jazz likes the Mickey Mouse heads. These are easily separated from one another by beak and foot and can be flung far and wide. Sometimes, they even hook themselves to cage bars in the act of falling, providing a new challenge.
Plastic shower curtain rings are a birdy delight. Not only can they be formed into long, irregular climbing chains, but the kinds which snap together securely are better than quick links. They fit easily over branches, rope, plastic chains, cage bars, and will snap toys onto interesting out of the way places.
My latest discovery was made during an attempt to make blueberries edible. They held no appeal in Jazz’s dish, so I strung them like beads onto a length of string-trimmer plastic line. Jazz stripped those berries from the line in a New York minute, dropping them to the floor uneaten. He did, however, think the knot in the trimmer line was worthy of his attention. Despite the fact that it took two pairs of pliers to pull that knot, I have no doubt Jazz will succeed in untying it.
Jazz’s breeder told me that Eclectus are detail oriented which would explain his disdain of big clunky toys. I continue to keep my eyes peeled for items to incorporate as playthings.