The Cockatiel Diva

"I don't approve of amateurs! I should be on tv!"

Today was quite the Monday.

You know, I just don't lose it on tv very often, but today was the day. I think the last time I got this flustered and was laughing uncontrollably was the mouse incident several years ago (I was cleaning out a bird house and three deer mice shot out during live television).

I had a Showcase Minnesota segment on pet birds and though not my main passion, it is something I can talk about and direct people to some great resources. I thought I would take our cockatiel, Kabuki. As I have said before, Kabuki is bonded to Non Birding Bill and sees me as competition for his affection. However, when we are out of the house he's much friendlier to me because I am a recognizable member of his flock.

Kabuki was well behaved and was content to sit on my shoulder. I tested him out around the cameras before our segment and the first time one of them moved it startled him but once he got used to the movement he was fine.

We started the segment and all was going well. Now, our bird has a loud tinnitus inducing warning call that he gives when he hears a blue jay or a Menard's jingle (what can I say, banjos set him off). Rob and I got into the topic and just when I was going to talk about why birds don't always make the best pets, someone coughed in the back of the studio and Kabuki went wild. Rob and I tried to continue, but the bird was sounding an ear-splitting warning and was not going to be stopped. I just started laughing and Rob started cracking jokes. Thank goodness I didn't take live phone questions today. I've had crank callers, challenging questions and flappy birds happen live on air and I've been able to deal with it all, but this just got me the giggles and I couldn't stop--I really couldn't see the point in trying to out talk a loud squeaky bird.

Round about the last thirty seconds of the segment Kabuki calmed down and we got a few more words in. Afterwards the crew was laughing and said my bird could come back any time. He was a good reminder that no matter how in control we think we are, animals can put us all in our place and just take control of a segment and take it in a whole new direction you weren't expecting.

When I arrived there was a guy dressed like Don Johnson from Miami Vice (note photo above) with a British accent. He had sunglasses on and was filming a tease for his segment. When he saw me with a bird on my shoulder he asked if I was a pirate. He had a small entourage and with the accent and tacky clothes I thought to myself, "Oh man, what 80's wash up did they get for this morning?"

I asked the producer who he was and she said that he was the owner of Restaurant Miami. This is just a few blocks from where we live and we were wondering when they were going to finish construction and be open . The owner was a hoot! He did his whole segment in character just oozing good old 1980's shmarm with quotes like:

"I miss America when it was at it's best, nothing but lots of money, bigger, powerful, that's what my place is all about!"


"I've lived in Minnesota for the last 20 years so I'm very qualified to open Restaurant Miami."

I think I sense a girls' night out coming on!