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By  David W. Asche

A lot of us are familiar with the small, colorful birds known as Budgerigars, commonly called "budgies" or as the "Australian Shell Parakeet".  I know these birds very well as I have had one in my home most of my life and have also bred them and worked with them over all my life.

They can talk, do tricks, learn just about anything if they have the aptitude and they get the chance to show their stuff.

Some birds are very talented, others to a lesser degree, but most are a lot of fun.

Every once in a while, one comes along with exceptional talent.

Tinker was one of the real talented ones.  This bird was a very intelligent and resourceful bird.  Not only could he talk, but he was very clear and understandable in what he said, too.  He had about a thirty word vocabulary, including some real salty things, and could actually make up sentences and spoke loud enough that everyone could hear what he had to say.

An example of what I'm talking about is one night, I was home alone and I was on the phone with my sister.  The bird was up in his cage chattering away and she asked me who is here with me.  I said no one was here, just me and the bird.  She said she could hear SOMEONE talking.  I assured her that no one else was here, and the bird was putting on a show in his cage.

She said, "Birds don't talk that clear."  I replied, "This one does."  THAT'S how good he was!

The little bugger would eat or try anything I had to eat.  Cheeseburgers, salads, potatoes, sodas, milk, coffee, fruits, etc.  He also ate bird seed, but his one thing he just had to have if I had them was potato chips.  If I had any, he wanted one, too.

I came home one evening and had a small bag of "Ruffles Cajun Spice" chips.  They were spicy and were even a bit too much for me, but I did like them, even though my eyes were watering up from them.

The bird wanted one.  I said, "No, these are too much for your little ass."  But no, he made it clear I better give him one, so I put one up in the wires of his cage and he hit that thing like a buzz saw....For about three seconds.

Then, it was just like watching a Looney Tunes cartoon.  You could see the steam building up in him.  He scrapes his beak on his perch, shakes his head, scrapes his beak again. DIVES for the water bowl, back up to scrape his beak again...I don't know how long it lasted.  I was on the floor busting a gut laughing too hard to notice.

He liked to go with me in the truck, or even outside on my shoulder.  He only had one threat to him when he tried to fly off and a cat pounced on him.  He knew better to stay on my shoulder right up next to my neck after that!

He loved rides in the truck and he even had a small travel cage that hung from a hook on the roll bar of my truck.

As it came to pass, I was offered a new job here in Alaska, so I had to pack up and move from Oregon, and my fiancé wanted to come too, so we got married and a week later, we were on the road to Alaska.  The bird was in his cage up in the back of the cab where he liked to be.

We drive North to the Canadian border.  My little Datsun pick-up is all loaded down, and the trailer we were pulling was made from another Datsun pick-up and it was full as well.

At the border, we had to stop and declare whatever they wanted to know about, so we said we had a pet and some rifles, so they wanted us to pull over to the side so the truck and trailer could be searched.

Well, I told them exactly where the rifles were packed, as I knew they would want to see them, but the guard wasn't interested in the truth.   He was snooping around under the dashboard, under the seats, etc.

I asked him what he was looking for...He said, "Hand guns, drugs, and other contraband."

I said, "We don't have any of that stuff." We just stood there and witnessed the proceedings.

The bird could NOT be quiet as the insurrection proceeded....

He spoke to the Guard in a manner that was just his way...Clear and perfect in his manner, he was aware that something was going on I didn't like.  He was on MY side in the mater, too.

Tinker let the Guard know how HE felt.

The bird was saying, "You dirty bastard!  Whatcha doin'?" over and over again.

The Guard stopped and looked at me, back a the bird, back to me.  This went on a while, but finally the Guard had had enough.

I was worried he would confiscate the bird!

Finally, the Guard says, "Go ON!  Get OUT of HERE!"

We came on North to Alaska, Tinker was allowed free roam in the hotels along the way, except the last on in Glenallen , and we found a place to live in Anchorage.  Sadly, we lost him after we got here.  I had had my little buddy for over ten years.

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