Re: Man’s Feathered Friend

by Daniel Foster

Jay, it can be done! I used to apartment sit for a friend on the Lower East Side from time to time. At first, I told myself the upside of doing the favor was dramatically cutting my commute to NRHQ. But I’ll be damned if I didn’t fall hard for her white-bellied caique, name of Baldi (short for Garibaldi, of course). He kept me coming back.

As much as any domestic critter I’ve encountered, this little guy had personality. Always wanted to be out of his cage and wandering about. Only bird I’ve ever met that let you pick him up by the beak, roll him on his back and rub his belly, tickle him under the wings, the whole deal. Great climber of shirt buttons and percher of shoulders. Chewer of all things plastic. (Okay, give me a moment, I’m getting emotional.)

Anyway, Baldi did great on walks. I mostly kept him on a little leash tied loosely around his ankle (do birds have ankles?) to guard against the off chance he’d get spooked and fly off. Never happened. Bonus: Best wing-man ever (as it were). Not a young lady between Chinatown and the Bowery who didn’t want to meet his acquaintance.

Here’s me (bohemian chic) and Baldi:

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