The Parrot Bath is not just a bath.
It is an event.
An occasion that requires planning, organization and orchestration.
Rita takes her bath seriously.
She knows as well as I do that cold water is unacceptable.
And, it could give her a fatal chill.
So, she waits until the temperature is just right.
While she waits, she studies a (fortunately, waterproof) canvas print of Botero’s fat family.
Perhaps, with a BMI of fifty grams too chubby, she identifies with this strange flock.
I always appreciate her patience with the preparations for her bath.
If I asked her to sit on this perch for any other reason, she would complain to high heaven!
Her bath is a shower falling like a gentle rain from the Hudson sprayer that I hold over her head.
(Never blast a parrot in the face with cold water for any reason!)
She fluffs her feathers to catch the drops.
And stretches her wings to expose the flight feathers.
It always amuses me that she opens her wings wide and turns this way and that in a comical fashion
To be sprayed underneath each wing and on her sides.
It always delights me to watch her enjoying her bath.
When her back and wings are soaked to her satisfaction,
She spreads her wings and acts really silly for such an aloof lady!
All the while, declaring herself a “Pretty Girl!” in a perfect rendering of my best mock-heroic tone.
When her bath is finished
She likes to walk around the tub to investigate.
This is a good time to examine her feet.
Ah, her nails are far too long.
The tips of her toes should lie flat on the walking surface.
Careful foot care is extremely important to
prevent foot sores, arthritis and a host of other ailments.
After her tour of the tub surround,
She’s back to the shower perch to stretch and shake and
Bob and weave and chat and generally enjoy herself.
In summer, Rita dries herself on her Java tree on the porch.
In winter, she has to settle for drying on her play stand next to my desk.
It is important never to place a wet parrot in a draught even at room temperature.
They are as cold as we would be if we stepped out of the shower and ran around without our clothes.
When their feathers are wet, they have no ability to regulate body temperature.
Rita expends considerable energy during her bath.
Drying and rearranging her feathers requires more stretching.
In much the same way that we require a snack after vigorous exercise,
Rita appreciates a refueling snack following the Bath Event.
Aaaah… She settles into a resting position with one foot drawn up, her body relaxed.
Talking softly to herself.
Soon, she will be dozing to the sound of music from my computer.
And so goes the quiet finale.
Rita will spend many hours oiling her feathers following her bath.
Feather by feather with oil from the preening gland at the base of her tail feathers.
Yep, we girls do require meticulous attention to our coiffures following a shampoo, you know.