Radio Bird - African Grey

by Todd
(Lodi, California)

My African Grey, Sweetie (Beaky) grew up in my study. She was on the 2nd floor in the corner, so had two big windows to look out.

In the study was my computer and ham radio equipment. So, at a young age, she would sit with me when I was using the radio, or computer.

She quickly figured out web cameras, and would sit on my wrist so she could see herself and see the reactions of people to her (she was also closer to the camera this way) -this garnered the nickname, "Webcam Ham"

Each Monday, the local ham radio club I belonged to had a weekly meeting on a local repeater. So, after dinner, Beaky would join me in my chair and we would talk on the net. It took a bit over an hour, but a small game began to be played.

The moment I started to talk, I could feel her feet digging into my shoulder as she leaned forward. She was trying to get her beak onto the hanger clip on top of the microphone. This I would let her do, once I had finished making a comment.

Then a small tug of war game began. She is smart enough that when I said, "I need to talk now" she would let go. Then it would start all over!

Now, whenever she wants to play, "Radio bird" she will whistle my call sign in Morse Code to convince me its time to come out and play.

On another day, a long time ago, when I first got my new radio, I was studying the code, and so this is where she picked it up. I called my friend Chuck to come over and see the new equipment. He was a WWII vet, who flew with the Flying Tigers in China/Burma/India, and of course, a ham radio operator.

Beaky was not too sure of him when he came into the room. She had not seen too many different people at that time. I told him she was whistling my call sign. Chuck started to whistle "CQ CQ" to her, and she immediately became friendly to him.

I guess she figured he was family since we all made this funny series of noises!

One day, I had an AM radio on in the study, and at noon, the local station had Paul Harvey on. Beaky was on my shoulder and became very agitated. She was stomping back and forth across my shoulders and grumbling a little!

I did not figure it out right away, but once I switched to another local station, without Paul Harvey, she calmed right down and sat on my shoulder!

So, her official in the room radio station changed that day!