Pet of the Day

November 15, 2001

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Mazi Wamukota, the Pet of the Day
Name: Mazi Wamukota
Age: One year, eight months old
Gender: Male
Kind: Senegal Parrot
Home: Santa Clarita, California, USA
   Oh, Mazi's such a tremendous little delight! I've known him since he was still hiding out in an egg, and I just couldn't wait for the day he was weaned, so I could take him to his new little home (a townhouse). Here he lives with Nellie ("his" cat), Daphne (a Schneider skink), and hangs out around the aviary in "The Creature Room," which is also where I do all my computer work. He has a two-level cage, with the top being a play area. I have special perches and shelves attached to the sides of his cage, as well, so he lots of places to climb and dangle from. But he much prefers to hang out either on my head or one of my shoulders, as is typical of most parrots.

Not only is he learning to speak ("Hello," "I love you," etc.) and do various whistling patterns, but he also tries to "babble-talk," imitating the sounds other people around him make, which always cracks me up. And, if I start laughing, he laughs back - long and richly! He imitates my pager and the microwave, as well as one of my canaries, which is so sweet. He also has created a very high little whistling sound that is almost like a piccolo, and it really stops me in my tracks. He never squawks, which is a real plus.

    When we go for drives, he will sing along to whatever music is playing, and seems to really prefer opera, bluegrass, lots of violins, piano, and sitars... as well as the Beatles. Mazi is amazingly social -- I've read that Senegals tend to be one- or two-person birds -- so I like taking him on visits. He especially likes the library, and knows to be quiet. He likes kissing me on my lips and, when I go to kiss him, he makes my kissing sound to me.

    His favorites foods are honeysuckle flowers and vines (!), baked tofu, spaghetti, whole grain bread, beans, corn, peas, Edamame, sprouts, Cheerios with soy milk, nuts (especially pecans), and any kind of cheese. Of course he loves to tear up paper of any kind. We have a new game that he taught me, which is called "Oops!" He sits on my computer desk, and starts tossing onto the floor everything he can grab with his beak. I retrieve the items, and he tosses them back onto the floor. Sometimes we do this for a half an hour, and the entire time, I'm winded from laughing so hard, and he knows I'm having fun, so he keeps at it even longer! He likes taking apart things, especially heavily-knotted items, so if a silver chain of mine gets tangled, I just ask Mazi to untangle it for me now.

    Oh! If I go upstairs, and leave Mazi behind, he will laboriously climb the 12 steps of my staircase! Incredible! At night, he usually sleeps on my head, but oftentimes, near morning, I'll find that he's curled up between my feet and Nellie. Amazing! When he thinks I'm awake, he runs up to the top of the bed, says a tentative, quiet "Hello," and waits. If I don't respond, Mazi lies on my forehead and waits until I stir again. This time, when I finally say "hello" back, well, it's party time! Let the games begin! Mazi starts singing, chirping, whistling, hello-ing me, kissing me, and then he starts doing a goofy dance, and the rest is just fun, fun, fun -- for both of us! I am so glad little Mazi Wamukota is a part of my life, I really am.

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