Sunday, April 19, 2015

Screaming in the Darkness of Night

Title sounds spooky, doesn't it? You know what's spookier? Waking up every single night to blood-curdling screams. The screams of a Goffin's cockatoo. Every. Night.

That was our reality for months.

When Loki and Mango first arrived in California, I tried a variety of darkness levels for night time: blinds open, blinds closed, night light, no night light, etc. For the first few months we had no problems. Then, occasionally, Loki would start muttering in the middle of the night. His room is right next to mine, connected by only a wall between our closets. To make things worse, neither of our closets have doors, so we just had that one thin wall separating us. The muttering progressed to moderate-level chatter. It would wake me up, but not so badly that I couldn't immediately fall asleep. Then, late last fall, the screaming started.

I would wake up with a jolt. Adrenaline would always turn to anger. "WHY is he SCREAMING? Is this going to be my reality forever? Being woken every night by the equivalent of a toddler's temper tantrum?" Then it would take me about an hour to even get back to sleep because although the screaming would stop after five to ten minutes, I'd still be seething.

Loud and Proud.

The resentment compounded. I found myself thinking thoughts like, "I'm going to have to re-home Loki with a deaf person," or, "I wonder what roasted cockatoo tastes like?" One night around 2:00 AM I was awoken while wearing ear plugs, and I desperately turned to the internet. I had to turned to the internet before, but I obviously hadn't used the right search terms because this time I got about a dozen hits to links I hadn't seen before. According to the internet, Loki was screaming for one of two reasons: 1.) he is bothered by the ambient light in the room and from outside the window, or 2.) there is something medically wrong, he is pain, and he's just as pissed off as I am. Since a vet visit complete with blood tests run in the several-hundreds-of-dollars range, I decided to try the cheaper solution to start. The $10 black flat sheet from Target solution. The $10 black flat sheet from Target solution that has pretty much worked since I started covering Loki at night about two weeks ago.


We have had a couple of relapses, but those can be attributed to my roommate coming home late and flushing the toilet before going to bed. The wall closest to Loki's cage is shared with the hall bathroom and the toilet is right there; it sounds like a jet engine when flushed so no wonder it wakes him up. Better yet: when he's disturbed by this, he only mutters for a few minutes and goes back to sleep. And he's awake and spritely in the morning when I uncover him, whereas he was grumpy before.

Look at that adorable, non-grumpy face. He loves the chin/cheek ("flufflechops") rubs.

Knock on wood that this lasts. Everybody cross your fingers. And sorry, Loki, that you weren't getting a good night's sleep either.