paterson bird store.

Today we got 3 new birds! At Paterson Bird Store in Totowa, NJ.

I’m not going to tell you much about the birds yet because I’m honestly scared it’s too soon and they’ll just up and die. Maybe that’s irrational but I just get nervous. After a few days I will properly introduce them. Also two of them still need names! And we want the names to be bird puns and I’m terrible at thinking up puns even though I really love puns so if you have any good bird puns to use for their names PLZ ADVISE.

I WILL tell you more about Paterson Bird Store because I enjoyed it. It’s not IN Paterson, at least not the one I think of when I think of the (NATIONAL PARK!) waterfall or the train station where my friend from Woodland Park comes to pick me up when I visit her. It’s not just my thinking because it’s not Paterson, it’s Totowa. So don’t get confused (I got confused). It’s all in that general direction anyway.

Whatever.

Paterson Bird Store was highly enjoyable! I was looking for a place to get another budgie so my budgie had a budgie to budge with, and I came across it on the Google. I located their Instagram and I thought it seemed like a happy place for happy birds. I also knew I could take a 30min Uber ride there so I was sold.

They were very responsive to DMs and let me know they had a lot of budgies for sale and were open today, New Year’s Eve. YES.

Sadly it was raining, so as we rode through the Meadowlands I didn’t spot any of the outside birds I like to see there, like snowy egrets.

STUPID RAIN.

I WANTED TO SEE BIRDS ON THE WAY TO GET SOME BIRDS.

On the way, I had reached the decision that we would get two new birds, for a total of 3 in our home.

We rode past “American Dream” – hadn’t seen it yet. Well…it was there. We saw it.

We finally arrived at Paterson Bird Store and IT WAS TIME TO PICK OUT SOME BIRDS.

You guys, this is a really nice store. It’s birds and birds only. Special stuff for pet birds. A whole bar/buffet of different kinds of bird seeds and snackies! Tons and tons of toys!

BUT WHERE WERE THE BIRDS?!

“In the back.”

As we entered “the back,” a cacophony of beautiful bird sounds echoed in our ears and we knew true joy.

These birds were having the time of their goddamn lives. They actually seemed really happy and were chirping and flapping and hanging out with each other. It really made me happy and excited to see them all partying in such a way. I feel like my bird Elvis is very quiet and it made me sad, like he’s been so lonely with no bird friends to party with.

This set the stage for me deciding to get 3 birds. It had to be done.

As far as the party birds, I’m only talking about the budgies they have. They had some very pretty finches but I didn’t hang with them too much. They also seemed happy! But I don’t really know their lives so who knows.

A blue and gold macaw, a scarlet macaw, and an African grey were also in residence!

These three are all super cool looking and smart and large birds, and it was a treat to see them and say hi.

Yes. I said it was “a treat.” Accept that. They were lovely and perfect. And I love them forever.

It was really hard to choose a budgie! They were all cute and lively and had fun patterns and feathers. I wanted to go with a bird or two with a wacky color mutation because the one we already have is a very handsome standard version and I wanted to mix it up. I think we did a good job in choosing a standard looking blue one, a bright yellow one, and a gray/white/blue/yellow one. Those are not the scientific names for the colors. But they break them all down here and it’s interesting as hell, if you care.

The gray/white/blue/yellow one was my favorite to choose but he also bites so…yeah. I think he’s just nervous though! Let’s give him a chance, please.

The kind women at the store expertly retrieved our chosen birds and gave them a quick nail and wing trim. Elvis has his wings grown out and can fly around but we thought it might keep these new guys safer to have them short to start, as they learn their way around the apartment. I hope it works for them but they seemed really sad when I was moving them from the travel cage into a bigger cage and they tried to fly away from me and they couldn’t get off the ground.

Not that they had space to fly around before but their wings worked differently and felt different and they were dealing with accepting that and it made me so sad.

Maybe I’m just projecting…but I was like “They WILL grow back you guys!” <sobs>

Anyway they’re adorable and we packed them up and brought them home.

They have to quarantine from Elvis for a week so they are in a cage nearby to allow tweeting and meeting. I can’t wait to hang out with them more once they settle in and stop feeling shy.

And angry.

pigeons aren’t rats but rats are also okay.

YOU GUYS. Earlier today I heard someone call a group of pigeons “rat birds” and look at them in disgust and I had to do everything in my power not to flip every table in sight.

Luckily there were no tables in sight

Pigeons are intelligent and can be trained to DELIVER MESSAGES. This is such an uncanny ability that we don’t even REALLY KNOW how they do it. Like science HAS NOT FULLY FIGURED IT OUT.

These birds are a marvel of the natural world, just like everything in the natural world, and they deserve your RESPECT, my friends.

I know that people see pigeons as “dirty” or “messy,” and they are. All birds are. But do you know who else is dirty and/or messy? HUMANS. And if you don’t believe that you’ve never seen the episode of Mad Men where they go on a picnic on the side of the highway and when they leave they just shake all the garbage off their picnic blanket and leave it there.

Currently doing a Mad Men re-watch.

Humans make a mess all over the place. They’re gross and they smell bad. I pretty much hate us but we’re not different from other animals in that respect.

I do understand that many people fear pigeons, and birds overall. They hang out in gangs and they fly around erratically. I get it that it seems like one might get tangled up in your hair or go to the bathroom on you. Or go to the bathroom in your hair.

And yes, that HAPPENS. But I will submit that having a pigeon go to the bathroom on you is way less gross than changing a human baby’s diaper or a dog making a bathroom mess in your house. The pigeon stuff seems like the easiest to clean up and deal with quickly, in my opinion.

Ugh. Bathroom stuff. Ew.

Also birds are essentially dinosaurs. But instead of FEARING that, I’m calling upon you to EMBRACE it.

Don’t even get me started on how people talk about rats. Actiually I’m already started so here we go.

FIRST OF ALL, it is rude as hell to describe a pigeon as a “rat” with a disdainful and disrespectful tone. It is ALSO rude to the rat.

VERY RUDE TO THE RAT.

I don’t need to show you “Templeton at the Fair” yet another time to get you to be cool with rats, do I?

Okay here it is just in case.

But like, rats are fine. Get over it already. Yes they crawl on the ground so they attract a ton of germs. But liking them or at least thinking they’re “okay” doesn’t mean you’re going to like, go up to them and lick them or something. Just allow them to occupy the space. HAVE YOU EVER SEEN THE SECRET OF NIMH?!

HAVE SOME RESPECT.

THIS WHOLE PART TERRIFIES ME TO THIS DAY.

They do medical tests on rats because THEY ARE VERY SIMILAR TO US. Their bodies age the same way. Disease affects them the same way. Even their little brains react to scientists messing with them in the VERY SAME WAY that our little brains react to scientists messing with them.

It’s important stuff.

Rats have done us a great service AND THEY CONTINUE to show up for us in the lab. Even though they don’t know that they’re “showing up” and they didn’t choose to be there. Either way we owe them.

Enough about the lab rats because the rats that live on these streets are also pretty badass. First of all they’re not even FROM here, they came here on BOATS, just like people. I like to imagine it was a real Fievel’s family in An American Tail vibe but yes you’re right those were mice not rats.

Personally I get a big thrill whenever a rat runs across the sidewalk or wanders over the PATH tracks or tumbles into view screeching while locked into a rat-battle with one of its rat brethren. It’s the circle of life. And it…moves us all.

In conclusion, pigeons aren’t rats but rats are also okay. I could have made all of these facts up and I encourage you to fact check them BUT I ALSO ENCOURAGE YOU TO IMMEDIATELY RESPECT BOTH PIGEONS AND RATS.

thx.

*I’ve included some pigeon and rat photos from my cherished personal collection. JK I don’t have any good rat photos. They move too fast!

flat rock brook birds of prey presentation.

This past weekend, during what I considered my birthday weekend and therefore an extension of my birthday, I attended a Flat Rock Brook birds of prey presentation in Ercel Webb Park.

IT WAS INCRED. I love birds and birding and all things bird and have been waiting for the opportunity to see one of these presentations. I saw their recent presentations at Lincoln Park and another park I forgot on social media and couldn’t wait for the chance to go to one myself.

THIS WAS MY CHANCE.

I do think that these presentations are probably intended for children and like…FINE. But I signed up and I went and I saw some birds and you’re never too old to learn something new and hang out with birds. Deal with it.

On Saturday afternoon I headed over to Ercel Webb Park and I was super pumped. First of all in my mind this particular park was called “Lafayette Park” because it’s by Lafayette Pool/Aquatic Center/whatever. I feel like I have even referred to it as “Lafayette Park” and other people have known what I was talking about.

It’s not called “Lafayette Park.” Sorry.

JK I LOOKED IT UP AND IT IS REFERRED TO AS “LAFAYETTE PARK” IN A LOT OF PLACES ON THE INTERNET. There must be some kind of transfer of power/responsibility going on but I’ll have to look into that another time because THIS IS ABOUT THE BIRDS. But PS “Friends of Ercel Webb Park” helped get this event going and introduced the birds and bird pros.

As I was walking over I saw two hawks flying over MLK Drive. I am NOT LYING, they were there. I don’t know what kind but I DO know they weren’t seagulls or turkey vultures because I checked. I CHECKED. So I was super pumped that I saw some birds on my way to see more birds.

When I arrived at the park I saw that they had a cute little pumpkin patch set up for the kids. Since I AM a kid and I had registered myself for the event I took a pumpkin and I don’t regret it. I love pumpkins.

They provided Thanksgiving stickers to put on the pumpkin which I felt was very inclusive and respectful to this most valuable but often ignored November holiday. Great work!

After securing my pumpkin and stickers I proceeded to an open area where there were circles spray painted on the grass, 6ft apart. This was the first place I saw circles like this in person! I’ve seen pics of them doing it in parks in NYC but never experienced it for real and I liked it.

I laid out my blanket, put some turkey stickers on my pumpkin, and took out some knitting to work on while I waited impatiently for the birds to be revealed.

They really built up the suspense with the bird reveal because they had the birds in dark boxes! I’m no expert but I do know that birds feel safe and calm and probably like it’s time to take a nap when they’re in a dark, enclosed space. My pet budgie really likes it and I think he’s qualified to tweet for all birds.

It felt like actual years went by but it was finally time to take the birds out and I’ll tell you all about what I learned!

tilly – eastern screech-owl.

Tilly the Eastern Screech-Owl was napping HARD when they took her out of her box. Since she’s nocturnal it was during her sleep time.

Tilly ended up with Flat Rock Brook because she got attacked by a cat and is blind in one eye. She wouldn’t be able to live her badass screech owl life in the wild, so she lives a badass screech owl life as a bird ambassador and I think that seems okay with her.

During Tilly’s time in the spotlight she started to wake up and move around a little and she was really, REALLY cute.

But also a fierce predator that dines on small rodents and insects. YUM.

Toward the end they played a screech owl sound for us. They said they were going to play it before they played it and I was like “OMG Tilly is gonna LOSE IT!” because that’s what my pet bird does when I play pet bird sounds.

Tilly did not lose it and actually didn’t even notice. I guess she’s just too cool for school.

titus – american kestrel.

Titus, on the other hand, LOST IT. As soon as they took him out of his little box he was yelling and flapping and seemed completely outraged.

Sorry I couldn’t get a good pic of Titus but he was a lovely bird.

Kestrels as a species maybe get a little outraged sometimes, I’m not sure. They’re a type of falcon and were described as “feisty.” They’re common in cities, so be on the lookout!

I also learned that Titus was hit by a car and had one wing that didn’t heal correctly so he couldn’t be released back into the wild. Because he can’t fly. HE IS A BIRD AND CAN’T FLY. HOW RUDE OF THE WORLD.

Honestly I think he’s still pretty pissed about it and I guess I would be too.

jones – red tailed hawk.

Jones! Hello! I love you!

Before they took Jones out they were like, “Just want to warn you, this thing is huge.” And they took her out and SHE WAS HUGE.

I’m used to seeing these guys in the sky in the field behind my parents’ house, up in tall trees at Lincoln Park, and in every state I’ve ever traveled, soaring over the highway. They’re all around!

But it’s super nuts to see one so close because they are ENORMOUS. So large and beautiful and perfect and asking to be my best friend.

Sure!

Loving. It.

Poor Jones was shot by a shotgun and honestly if I remember correctly I have met other hawks that were similarly disrespected. LIKE WHY?!

Additionally Jones has a female Red-tailed Hawk friend named Ramona she lives with, and SHE got hit by a car. I’m so glad there’s a place for the birds to live that will take care of them and watch out for them and also bring them out into the community to hang out with me and other children.

josephine – great horned owl.

Josephine the Great Horned Owl was hurt by garbage humans in a slightly different way. She was found as an owlet, and because she was very, very young, she imprinted on the (not owlet professional caregivers) people that were taking care of her and never learned how to live that owl life.

So now she needs human assistance to live some kind of owl/person hybrid life. SHE IS LIVING A LIE.

But she was very beautiful. VERY. And the most amiable of all the bird ambassadors, I guess because she was the most comfortable around humans and/or didn’t feel like taking a nap like Tilly.

They talked a bit about bird body language with Josephine, I think as a way to highlight how comfortable she seemed compared to the other guys. She really was just hangin out, owling around. And stuff.

I study my pet bird’s body language very closely and I think he wants me to get out of his face most of the time so I found this part very interesting.

And then it was over! It went by so fast! It also started to get cold as the sun went behind the buildings around the park, so I was ready to pack it up and go home.

I can’t wait for there to be another bird presentation in a local Jersey City park. I don’t care if it’s the same birds and bird pros and the same presentation with the same information, I will go INFINITE TIMES.

MAYBE I’LL SEE YOU THERE.

notable animal residents of jersey city: dude cardinal on my block.

Today I’d like to speak about the dude cardinal that lives on my block, one of the notable animal residents of Jersey City.

Can you spot him?!

He is a beautiful, brilliantly bright-red bird and he runs this town.

The dude cardinal that lives on my block zips around very quickly so he is often hard to locate and always difficult to photograph.

We googled some shit about cardinals and it said that the males are “territorial song birds” so they sing in “a loud clear whistle” from the top of a tall tree or whatever to scare the other cardinal dudes off. So I’m pretty sure he’s the only dude cardinal around here, at least for a few blocks.

This is blurry but he battles some sparrows. V exciting bird content.

This dude cardinal on my block is SINGING HIS GOD DAMN FACE OFF all day every day. He’s lucky I like him because I usually hate loud noises. But I let him get away with it because he’s very handsome.

Majestic AF.

Most days we don’t see him at all, but EVERY DAY we hear him at least a few times.

The Internet also said cardinals like sunflower seeds, so I made sure to get birdseed that has some of those in it. Yesterday he was sitting in a tree looking very interested in the bird seed! But I haven’t seen him eating it yet. We’ll get there.

There’s also a lady cardinal, she’s brown. I haven’t gotten a picture of her yet but I hope one day I can get a little pic of them on a bird date. There are only so many small pleasures I can hope for in these dark times.

I know I said I was going to learn to use the real camera but I haven’t yet so these accompanying pics and vids are all I have for now.

I 💕U.

It’s worth mentioning that I never once saw a cardinal anywhere in Jersey City in the last 12(?!) years until I moved up here to The Hill. The Hill certainly has its issues but there are a SHIT TON OF BIRDS. And I like that about it.