Friday, May 9, 2008

Reminders of Zino

Video Find of the Day

In 1990 I started receiving Social Security Disability Benefits for the first time. As usually happens, I was found to have been retroactively eligible dating to the time of application, so I was sent an 8 month back-check. It came to about $4,000. So I was flush for a few days. I bought caviar on food stamps. My love of habañeros dates to that time, as I experimented with gourmet jars of the pickled variety. And I spent an afternoon at the U-District's Fin & Feather Store shopping for a canary.

I was remembering the I'iwi that I had seen and heard when I was 6 months old. I couldn't get an I'iwi as a pet, but a red canary was an option.

As a matter of fact, Fin & Feather had a brilliant red canary. I listened to his song for two hours as I loitered in the store. The price was $100. I had it, but I wasn't in love. Everything was right. Red is my color. The song was gorgeous. But I just didn't feel it.

Around the corner there was one large cage with ten green singing finches in it, each for $20. All but one of them looked sleepy and bored. But there was one son-of-a-bitchin' crazy ass bird in their midst who wouldn't stop with the acrobatics and the smart-ass bird calls. I kept coming back to him. That was where the love was.

Part of my thinking was, I would only be getting one bird. I should look for a loner. This guy was interacting with none of the other birds in the group. All he cared about was his flips and somersaults and the sound of his own voice. Perfect.

That was February 2, 1990, which became Zino's A-Day (for adoption). I named him after violinist Zino Francescatti, whose music set Zino off big time.

Eventually I came to understand that when Zino sang his heart out it was his birdish way of saying to the world, "I am royally pissed. I just heard some noise. Was that the sound of a rival for bird babes? Because if there's a rival for bird babes out there, hear me roar. I will sing your face off asshole."

I've been looking for videos of green singing finches that would remind me of what prompted our director Tim Harris to say, after regretting letting me keep Zino in the office during a bout of homelessness, "Tweet, tweet, fucking tweet." I have found two.

The song on this one is almost identical to Zino's. Most of it must be genetic. But this one warbles more.

Finch Green Singer Song (Serinus mozambicus )

The next one is the only one I could find that shows the flipping behavior that Zino engaged in. You have to look closely or you'll miss it. The very first time I saw Zino leap to the roof of the cage and hang there for a split second before dropping backward to the perch, I shouted, "WOW!" He almost fell off the perch, and then did it again immediately. So I said "wow" again. So he did it again. So I said "wow" again. And I learned that day that you can NOT out-last birds at repetitive behavior. They are the Gods of OCD.

Note the title. It's the macho canario de mozambique who does this sort of stuff, i.e. the males. Also the term canario is more appropriate than finch, they are not true finches, but Green Singing Finches are generally believed to have been ancestors of the canary.

macho canario de mozambique cebando pollos

Oops! I lied! That wasn't the one with the flip in it! It's this one! Are you sick of Green Singing Finches yet? Feel Tim Harris' many YEARS of pain!

canario de mozambique de charla

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