Time for my annual recap, presented in 4K (where available). As I’m retired and living in a house with 15 birds, there’s excessive bird-centric content. If you have kids, it’s similar, except my kids have much more beautiful plumage. Some of these might be repeats for those that follow me (or Hazel the cockatiel) on Instagram.
I have my office in the attic, where I’m typing this. I’m lucky to have a fantastic view of the tree-lined streets of Portland. There are six houses across the street, but in the summer I can only see parts of two of them. More than a hundred more city blocks are in the distance.
The farmers market is part of the weekly routine. While it caters mostly to humans, other species are also represented.
I took two classes in bird training at Avian Behavior International a few years ago. Last year, I started putting it into practice, training our parrots to do simple things like coming when called and simple tricks like spinning around. I got much farther this year, especially with Jasmine, our super smart cockatiel.
After a couple of birds passed away, the population of the aviary stood at 14 for most of the year.
I put together two videos that show what it’s like to be a bird, eating and flying in our aviary.
A freak snowstorm blew through in April, the latest snowfall in Portland history. Heavy, slushy snow collected on tree branches, causing significant tree damage. Our next-door neighbour was out before sunrise trying to remove snow from his tree as he saw the branches sagging down to the ground.
After limping around in pain for seven years, I decided it was time to have foot surgery. I couldn’t put any weight on it for six weeks after the surgery, so I had two scooters in the house to motor around on. I chose not to include the really gross post-surgical photo.
After two-and-a-half years, our newly planted garden is looking pretty impressive. One of the goals was to have the yard look much like what you’d see walking around in the forests outside the city.
Our two cats are getting close to 19 years old now. Although they are brothers from the same litter, Reggie is showing his age much more. He’s had a few seizures, and his arthritis is at the point where we call him “animatronic Reggie” because of his stilted way of walking.
Speaking of old, Betty is now estimated to be 27 years old, which is ancient for a cockatiel. Despite a lot of health problems, she is a pretty happy-go-lucky bird, hanging out with one of us most of the day.
Birds that don’t have a partner love to have their heads scratched, because they can’t do it themselves! Betty makes a cute squeaky noise when she gets attention.
Cancelled for two years due to COVID, we finally had a chance to go to the Swift Watch twice this year. Every night in September, thousands of Vaux’s Swifts (sometimes over 10,000 birds) congregate around sunset at an elementary school blocks from downtown Portland. Then, they stuff themselves into the school’s chimney in a span of 15-20 minutes. It’s a spectacular event that can draw over a thousand people each night.
We went on one of my favourite hikes since moving here. Our miserable hot and dry summer extended into the fall, with August, September, and October being the hottest in Portland’s history with very little measurable rain. The city was depressingly brown, so this spectacular hike at Cape Lookout on the coast was a great antidote. Foggy, lush and green, and quite muddy near the end.
After leasing a couple of different electric cars over the years, I finally found one worth buying. My first all-wheel-drive car and my second Hyundai.
We welcomed two new birds to the aviary, a cockatiel and a Bourke’s parrot that grew up together.
It wasn’t just Jasmine that had a successful year of training, so here are some tricks that the others have learned.
Like the rest of the country, we got hit with a dramatic winter storm. High winds and ice combined to give everything a windswept wintry glaze, including the our windows!
I’ll wrap up with my favourite new t-shirt of 2022.