Feeding The Creatures of the Forest Floor - - - by Liz Davies (aka "Mom")


Birds in the wild just don’t care about waste or mess – or need to.  They grab a juicy chunk of fruit from the nearest tree – eat a bite or two, and fling the rest down.  Any school child can probably tell you that this is nature’s way of propagating more fruit trees, which in turn means more food for the birds.  Not to mention the small animals on the ground who might benefit from eating the remains of a partially-eaten fruity snack.  This same behavior – which fits beautifully in the jungle, creates a mess in my house.

Let’s face it.  Birds are slobs when it comes to table manners.  They fling their fruit and rake their beaks through the seed and send it flying across the room (as if there is a prize at the bottom of the bowl!). Even the pellet food – of which we’d ideally see no “left over mess”, ends up on the floor.  Honestly, I’ve never understood how one piece of pellet food that looks identical to another can be found “unacceptable”, but my parrots apparently have a more discerning eye than I do.  One pellet in 5 ends up on the linoleum.

Our broom now has a more or less permanent home just inside the door.  “I live to sweep” I say to my darlings as I gather up the shells, hulls and whatever.   I try to be as cheerful as possible about it, but I won’t kid you – there are times when I could pull my hair out.

I’ve found, however, that the inevitable chore of cleaning up the mess has been made a little more bearable here, all thanks to the magic of “attitude adjustment”.  We’ve chosen to adopt the attitude that the mess is the inevitable result of living with creatures so generous by nature that they cannot help but share what they are enjoying with those “less fortunate ones” who live on the ground.  So, when they throw their food to the floor, we say “Oh!  Look!  Pakshi is feeding the creatures of the forest floor!”

Yes, maybe it’s a little wacky, but it helps. 

Sometimes how we feel about these things is improved (or worsened) by what we tell ourselves about it.  I could say “Oh, Look. Pakshi is messing up the floor I just cleaned”.  The difference?  It’s all in my head.  Pakshi is going to do the same no matter how I feel about it.  So I can ease my own frustration by trying to look at it in a different way.

Of course – on occasion – the birds get a treat that they finish completely.  Pakshi, in particular, is very fond of pork.  If he is offered a slice, he grabs it greedily and, unless he’s on his 2nd or 3rd piece, he’ll finish every morsel.  When that happens, either I or my husband are likely to exclaim “Pakshi! What about the creatures of the forest floor?”.  And Pakshi will look at us as if to say "phooey on them!"