Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind

Parrot looking over its shoulder

Though I remember going to see the film, I had no idea what the number referred to, so I looked it up. A mere sighting of an alien ship – a close one, mind – is the first kind. The third kind that gave name to the film means seeing an alien. If you speak directly with one, it’s the fifth kind.

It baffles me why we don’t have the same avid fascination to talk to the wild creatures we have on Earth, to find out what they can tell us. You can pooh-pooh this, but if we spent the money collectively invested in looking for the man on the moon to achieve a close encounter of the fifth kind with intelligent life on our own planet, dolphins, say, would we have had a breakthrough by now?

Double yellow-headed parrot with foot on the bars of its cage

When anyone asks me who I would like to have dinner with, if I could chose anyone, the human characters vary. I’d invite Shakespeare, of course, family members who have left us, then Lawrence of Arabia or Ayrtoun Senna, depending on my mood and the size of the table. Doctor Who could have an invite (but only the real one).

But the first three guests never vary: an old elephant, an old whale and an old oak tree.

What’s all this to do with parrot pictures? Good question! Of all the birds I’ve ever seen, this one stays with me. We found it alone in a cage in one of those really nice, tall glasshouses that is home to tropical plants.

The first glance over its shoulder was not promising, but it soon came over and started looking at me with a peculiar intensity.

I have no idea what it was trying to convey, except that it didn’t want me to leave it, even though I had nothing to offer except a few quiet words of company. I lingered for a while, then of course I had to go.

Double yellow-headed parrot looking out of the bars of its cage

The parrot looked healthy, was well cared for, and had no doubt learned to associate a human being with a tasty treat, but I often think about it and the way it held my eye. Parrots can live for a long while. It would be nice to think it has a chance to roam the glasshouse and visit the plants it can see when nobody is around, especially as there were quite a few small, wild birds living freely there. But how would they get the parrot back down from the trees? I don’t imagine it would be safe to have it out when visitors are around.

Shared for the last day of KindaSquare with apologies to anyone who likes grids on pictures to be lined up properly, never my strongest point. And with thanks as always to Becky for being such a great host.

38 Replies to “Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind”

  1. I always feel very sad when I see animals like this. They look so ‘knowing’. gazing into our eyes, I always imagine they’re saying “what ARE you doing to us? We were never meant to be kept like this!”. Gorillas in zoos and wildlife parks are the worst; they look at us as if WE are the inhuman ones, and I always agree.

  2. I love and have had many types of birds. I have always wanted a double yellow head parrot like this one or an African gray just not abled to afford to buy one…sigh. I can feel the moment you shared with this beautiful bird just from your pictures. 👍

  3. This took me completely by surprise. An old elephant, an old whale, and an old oak tree. And the parrot’s look. A bit of a jolt here — a good one. You made my brain take a sharp turn, so thanks.

  4. Yellow heads are good talkers. That one does look well cared for, but looks like he needed someone to talk to.

    1. I didn’t manage to get him to say anything. We once stayed in a boarding house where there was a parrot and my sweetheart tried to teach it to howl.

  5. Ooh yes an old oak tree could share so much, I love that idea.

    And I’m with you with spending more and learning more about nature. This lovely parrot could teach us so much xx

  6. A great post for the final Square. I had to look up Ayrtoun Senna, as I’d never heard of him. No, if he’s into motor racing he wouldn’t have made even the bottom of my possible list. Too many awful memories of going to motor races with my father in childhood. Scarred for life.

    1. My most boring experience was watching the TT race on the Isle of Man. Every now and again a bike came past and I had no idea who was winning. Still, it takes all sorts.

      Senna was intelligent, brave, romantic, always getting into some sort of trouble. It was a terrible shock to see the crash that killed him.

  7. I swear the wild birds at my feeder wait for me every morning, scolding me if I’m late or if the feeder gets empty. I think they know me, because they don’t talk to my husband.

  8. I sure would love to know what my dog is thinking! Animals are much smarter than many people think. I think some birds like it in their cages and when let out they will often go back for their food.

    1. I agree they are much smarter than we think.

      When my sweetheart fostered a baby possum, it felt safest in its box. Mind you, when it was set free, it never looked back (until he’s the one who has eaten two batches of brussels sprouts plants).

  9. He’s a handsome chap. Shame to keep him captive. I’m never sure about animals in zoos and the like, though conservation is often involved.

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