|Mittoo exercising in the house balcony.|
|Mittoo loves hiding on the Bonsai tree in the gallery.|
“MITTOO” has been with us for the last 20 years as on Friday(27-1-2012), purchased from Crawford market on 27/1/1992 as a baby nestling before the ban on selling of Indian parakeets by the “Wild life Authorities”, a timely legislation in preventing the extinction of these beautiful, intelligent birds in the natural wild. My “Letter-writing” on dangers of parakeet extinction in India due to the pet trade did prove that at times “Pen is mightier than the sword” in installing legislation's or at least being noticed . Today, the “Pet trade” in birds in Mumbai is confined to “Aviary bred birds” and not from nestlings removed from trees in the wild forests.
Alexandrine Parakeet "MITTOO"(1996) :-Reply Correspondence proof with "LIMCA BOOK OF RECORDS"
“Mittoo” is almost child-like in his mannerisms and behaviour , a recent proven fact that parrots are as intelligent as chimpanzees and have an “I.Q” of a human child. “Alex” the African Congo parrot has proved the “Parrot I.Q fact” in controlled conditions by its human trainer. “Mittoo’s” amazing sense at “Human recognition” and human attachment towards a particular individual is remarkable as also his talent for “Mimicry”. He also tends to “forget” his “Parrot vocabulary” a strange fact and also a bit “Paranormal”. Prior to albino/Siamese mix cat “Trixie” we had a prized dachshund bitch “Lucky” . “Mittoo” used to always call her name “Lucky Girlie,Lucky Girlie” in his sweet musical tone ,beside's, he was excellent in whistling. After “Lucky’s” demise “Mittoo” stopped uttering her name and even stopped whistling , it was as if he knew that “Lucky” was no more alive in the house , stranger, being the fact that he knew “Lucky” the name pertained to the bitch and no one else in our house-hold, a case of “RECOGNITION in Mittoo”. “Mittoo” used to also call my mum by her name “Greta” and the word “Mummy,Mummy” whenever he wanted eatables. After my mum’s demise he gradually stopped calling “Greta” but he still calls “Mummy,Mummy” whenever he wants eatables and is friendly with our house-maid Sabina. “Mittoo” has a strange attachment to dad , beside’s he also calls “Daddy,Daddy" whenever he wants his cage cleaned. Dad is the only person in the house to whom “Mittoo” flies to voluntarily when let off from his cage in the house akin to the trained parrots used in “Bird shows”. “Mittoo” has never been trained hence his preference to dad compared to other house members including me who “Hand-fed” him as a tiny nestling seems strange. Proves the fact that parrots and parakeets recognize people and different animals and akin to humans develops a special friendship with certain individuals it finds compatible. Another observation of “Mittoo” has been his “Extra-sensory behaviour” where he can detect the presence of food without visually seeing the food item , a common occurrence in our house where at meal times he also expects some tit-bit to be given to him otherwise he “Screams” non-stop. Dogs have a sense of smell hence they detect food but parrots detecting food without seeing is strange, hence perplexing to me.Another strange and mischievous behaviour is the habit of "Mitttoo" to drop his "feed-Bowl" to the ground from his cage.The normal "cage-house" of "Mittoo" has two feed bowls attached at either ends of his perch, one for water, the other for feed grains, the cage having a slide door at their ends in order to insert the bowls into the cage."Mittoo" has this bad habit of lifting the slide-door with his beak and dropping the bowl to the ground with his foot, a very intelligent prank, akin to a human child.Hence we have totally avoided giving "Mittoo" food in his "Food-Bowl" or either inserting a locking-wire to shut the slide-door and hence prevent "Mittoo" from opening the same and dropping his "feed-Bowl" after which he has the tendency to screech, reminding us of his intelligent prank.Since 1992 "Mittoo" has had numerous cages and every-time he did the same prank,proving the fact that he never forgets his "Old-Tricks", latest being on Tuesday(8-3-2011) when allotted his new "cage-house". In the 1990’s when “Mittoo” was at his best in “Parrot vocabulary” as well as whistling I had written to the “Limca book of records” about his extraordinary skills and to include him in the book as India’s best “Locally bred talking parakeet”.In 1996 I had sent a “Recorded cassette of Mittoo” to “Limca book of records, Delhi” and received a reply stating that they didn’t have a “Pets section for parrots” in their “Animal and Birds records” section and that was the last of “Mittoo’s” efforts for “Animal superstar status”. "Mittoo" also has this strange peculiar habit of nibbling at clothes, especially the buttons, if left unattended in the house gallery for his regular exercises. He has damaged manny good clothes of mine that were kept for drying on the balcony clothes-line. Hence whenever i leave him in the gallery always physically present to prevent him from indulging in his favorite hobby of nibbling clothes.“Mittoo”,the parakeet clown is definitely a freak, a unique wonder bird having “Telepathic powers” which are debatable as manny things in life are unexplainable, even amongst "NON-SUPERSTITIOUS PEOPLE" which includes me.
Dad’s demise on 15/8/2007(Wednesday) brought a sudden change in Mittoo’s behaviour, he turned very noisy always screeching. Dad had the habit of always sitting in the gallery and talking to mittoo and mittoo would respond by keeping a chilli in his mouth while uttering “Daddy,Daddy” until he personally removed the chilli from its mouth. On 17/12/2007(Saturday) there was a discussion on [ARE THERE SPIRITS FROM BEYOND] conducted by Larry.King on C.N.N T.V and what Americans believe or discuss becomes a World-wide topic as it is the World’s only Superpower. My experience with pets and my own personal encounters with “paranormal phenomenons” has convinced me that there is some unexplainable invisible force that can effect or even partially control our lives. “Mittoo” our talking parakeet has totally stopped talking after Dad’s death to whom he was very attached and he said “Daddy ,Daddy” only on “All souls day” after I had visited the cemetery and returned home, never uttering nor talking after that day. Why is “Mata-Hari”, my Persian cat absolutely suicidal in our house although this is not the normal behavior of a cat or any animal who are absolutely petrified of heights? ”Mata-Hari” behaves like a small child and is intelligent but her “suicidal Tendencies” are beyond explanation. I am a educated city dweller having visited every continent on planet Earth but definitely feel that modern science and humanity cannot explain certain “paranormal occurrences”. Finally when citizens of the Worlds only superpower and one of the richest country’s start debates on “Paranormal occurrences” they have the World watching and listening and not ridiculing or laughing if it happened to be me speaking! Mittoo definitely missed the presence of dad as well as Trixie and he was uncontrollable in his screeching making me panic as to his health since it could cause stress, a common cause of heart attacks in birds. Arrival of “Matahari” into our household calmed Mittoo since he must have felt the presence of Trixie but till date he hasn’t uttered the word “Daddy,Daddy”, something he use to utter almost daily proving the fact that parrots do recognize people by names and also miss their presence.I am no “OFFICIAL ANIMAL RESEARCHER” but my years of experience with various household pets, observance of wild zoo animals(Byculla zoo) and personal wild-life tours have convinced me that pets do recognize and associate with their owners. Parrots have proven to have the intelligence level of a 5 to 10 year kid and “mittoo” has proven that fact by means of his “parrot vocabulary” and “Human recognition vocabulary” Paranormal or co-incidental?- 2/11/2007(Friday) is “All souls day” or worldwide known as the “Day of the Dead” a day of reverence to Catholics and had been to parents graveyard at "Haines road(Mahalaxmi)" in the morning. On returning home found “Mittoo” excessively noisy and hence opened his cage and after ages he came out and I took some of his photographs on my digital camera. Later in the afternoon at approx 1600 hrs he suddenly uttered the words “Daddy,Daddy” and as usual he had a “guava piece” in his mouth something he hadn’t done after Dad’s death. Mittoo has totally stopped speaking after Dad’s death, hence his strange utterance of the word “daddy,daddy” on “All souls day" is very bizarre to my reasoning as I keep a very open mind to both the practical and paranormal occurrences. On 28/11/2007(Wednesday) I went to “Worli Fort” (Built 1675) as I was happy to be partly instrumental in getting the “Fort” repaired after centuries of neglect through my constant “Letter-writing” to the media before the invention of the “Internet” and later through “Blogging”. After returning home from the fort at approx 1700 hrs “Mittoo” suddenly uttered the words “Daddy ,Daddy” .Whats the reason for “Mittoo” uttering “Daddy, Daddy” only after I visit burial sites or supposedly haunted places? Worli village has a strong “Catholic-Hindu” cultural influence with Hindu temples and catholic religious statues in close proximity giving a historical perspective of the gradual development of Mumbai from a “Portuguese fishing village” to its present status, a multi-cultural cosmopolitan city. Are Mumbai’s “Paranormal occurrences” also cosmopolitan? Sabina Dias my house-keeper told me that the fort had a “Suicide Well” and hence I had a look at it as also photographed the same, the well at present completely filled with muck. Strangely,”Mittoo” has regained his human vocabulary since approx 9/12/07 and on 12/12/07(Wednesday) he spoke in his fluent “parrot English" approx 4 months after Dad’s death. Grotesque and paranormal. Took a 16 minutes voice recording of “Mittoo” on 12/4/08(Saturday), one of the best recordings in which he mimics in series a lot of words and the “SIGNATURE TUNE BEING ‘ O.K MITTOO”!. Its no joke talking non-stop for a bird as they do tire and this cassette could be a “MITTOO MUSICAL HIT” produced by owner Rudolph.A.Furtado.
|"Mittoo" on the "Keyboards with a little assistance from me.Listen to the "MITTOO TAPES"|
."Alexandrine parakeets" are not seen in the wild in Mumbai city unlike the common " Rose- Ringed parakeets", besides, he was alone and not in a group or pair.The crows were not baying for his blood as is normal with escaped caged birds in the city, most becoming a meal for the predatory crows, a cruel fact of nature.Akin to "Mittoo", this lonely parakeet must be searching for a mate which would be futile in Mumbai as "Alexandrine parakeets" are not found in the wild in the city.Strangely, a kite has also taken refuge on the coconut tree today(14-2-2011) and refuses to fly from the tree occasionally being joined by its mate, all this happening on "St Valentine's day(14-2-2011)",bizarre co - incidence.Since "St valentines Day(14-2-2011)", one of these pair of kites daily sits on the coconut tree facing our gallery which is mittoo's residence.Seems, this pair of kites must have made a nest somewhere close and are keeping an eye on the same, bizarre wild-life bird observation in the heart of Mumbai city.Sadly, these kites left the "Coconut tree" on Friday(11-3-2011)after their nest or hide-out was destroyed by "Coconut Pickers" employed by our building society to extract coconuts.Birds are very sensitive to human encroachment and this was the last that i saw of these unique pair of kites trying to build a nest on our building coconut tree.In the month of September 2011, noticed that these pair of kites were building a nest on the "Air-Condition ledge box" of the sixth floor of "Avarsekar's Pushpanjali" a multi-storeyed skyscraper , just adjacent to our building.The coconut tree faces their nest house and hence this pair were continuously perched on this tree scouting for a suitable nest site.As on October 2011, they have laid eggs and are in the process of hatching the same, the first time i have witnessed huge raptors nestling in the heart of Mumbai City.The topographical changes in Mumbai's skyline have created new nesting avenues for some of the city's birds that have adapted to a concrete jungle living, most importantly, the common city kite.Once common birds like the house-sparrow have considerably reduced in numbers in the city, reasons which have puzzled naturalists and bird-watchers.Strangely saw the freak loner "Alexandrine Parakeet" of "St Valentine day" again on Wednesday(23-2-2011),hearing its distinctly high pitched screeches and through binoculars recognizing this beautiful plumaged "Loner Parakeet".As a member of the "B.N.H.S(Bombay natural History society)", have been on numerous nature treks in the company of some of the best "Bird-Watchers", always admiring their skills and talent at recognizing a bird species just by its shriek or musical calls, since i am basically a "Trekker" not a knowledgeable "Bird-watcher".This particular mysterious wild "Alexandrine parakeet" made me realize the difference in sounds of bird calls, thanks to my very own "Mittoo".Again spotted this elusive beautiful "Alexandrine Parakeet" at approx 0900 hrs on Friday(8-7-2011), sitting on the "Cable Wires" between buildings.Later, at approx 1000 hrs this bird again returned to its perch on the "Cable Wire" approx 75 meters from my gallery, noticed by my house-keeper Sabina.Dias. I don't own professional "Zoom Photography equipment", since my handy "Pentax optio 40" digital camera suits my normal purpose of "Close-up photography" and "landscapes" which are later composed into my blog, more a writer and less a photographer.Hence i decided to at least get a remembrance photo of this unique freak parakeet for authenticity of this blog on this unique survivor. Managed to Photograph this unique and lonely bird, the same on view on the main page of this blog, sitting on the cable wire with our building coconut tree in the background.At least this bird will experience the free bird life and hope it survives to a ripe old age having eluded the crows, a rare freak.THE "LONER ALEXANDRINE PARAKEET" WAS AGAIN SIGHTED ON SATURDAY(15-9-2012) AT 0800 HRS IN THE MORNING ON THE SAME CABLE WIRE THAT I SPOTTED HIM OVER A YEAR AGO .Why is this bird all alone although once i did spot a few Alexandrine parakeets on the coconut trees inside the Mahatma Gandhi swimming pool, a distance of approx 1.5 Kms by a parrots flight ? Strangely, akin to humans, seems even amongst birds, some like to live alone from their flock like this "LONER ALEXANDRINE PARAKEET".The residential area of Prabhadevi near my residence has some of the best greenery and trees in Mumbai city, hence a lot of birds and even a few squirrels are local residents in the vicinity. As for "Mittoo", he is totally at peace with his house-hold, loves to be left in the closed gallery to stretch his wings, a happy caged pet bird. Mittoo also has some peculiar mannerisms,one of which is the mild lifting of his wings whenever he sees me for the first time in the day, akin to a human greeting like "hello or Good morning"!He does this every day, bizarrely childlike behavior.
|Tuesday(22-10-2013):-"AUDITIONS AT "MITTOO THE POPPAT" STUDIO at my home IN MUMBAI ! :- Any film roles for the pair of us ?|
At 19 years of age "Mittoo" seems to have become a bit organized in his daily routine, always screeching in the evenings to be let out of his cage.On being let out, he just comes out of his cage and sits on top of it, finally going back into his "caged house" after approx an hour and begins his dinner before sunset.He has become bolder and lazier with age and experience , never flying around the enclosed house gallery as he used to when a much younger bird.Normally i would force him to fly by frightening him with a stick from his perch on top of the "cage-house" but it seems he now knows that i just frighten him and refuses to leave the perch when shown the stick, absolutely comical behavior."Mittoo" is fed his food early in the morning , normally before 0700 hrs, after the feeding of the cats by house-keeper Sabina.Dias.If he is fed a little later than 0700 hrs he emits his shrill parakeet screech, reminding us to clean his cage and replenish his daily food.He is very regular in this particular "food reminder Shriek", repeating it on various occasions when his early morning cage-cleaning and meal is delayed.Another bizarre behavior of mittoo is that whenever i return home after sunset, late in the night and happen to go into the gallery, he recognizes me and starts talking his "Parakeet Language".Normally, we always cover his cage with a cloth at night to prevent disturbance as well as a shelter against the bright light emitting from our living room.Despite his cage being covered , mittoo recognizes my home-coming at night, even at times, past midnight, a strange behavior akin to a dog.I normally keep my shoes in the gallery and hence quickly depart to avoid mittoo's voice awakening people as it sounds loud in the quietness of night.As mentioned previously, with age and time mittoo's vocabulary has evolved and changed over the years. He has learnt new words and sentences while having a tendency to forget some, which to me could be the "Storage Power" of his tiny "Bird Brain" for retaining "Mimicry vocabulary".On Saturday(16-7-2011) i distinctly heard him "Meowing" in the afternoon , his usual "Mimicry Time".
|A "CLOSE-UP" view of the intelligent face of "Mittoo" alias "Mittoo the Poppat".|
|"MITTOO" alias "Mittoo the Poppat" on the house office computer keyboard.|
"Mittoo" has been the subject of a topic on "B.B.C Radio" in 2004,a debate on "Radio Telephone" regarding having "PENSIONS" for retired circus and animal stars, a true "Bird Celebrity". It was a 3-Way discussion conducted by a "B.B.C Moderator" in London between Dan.Westfall(U.S.A), owner/handler of retired "Tarzan of the Apes" film chimp "Cheetah", Mr Martin.Lacey(U.K),animal trainer and owner of "Great British Circus" and myself Rudolph.A.Furtado(Mumbai),pet owner of "Mittoo, India's best talking parakeet".
BELOW IS AN EXTRACT OF A LETTER WRITTEN BY ME ON 23-4-2004 TO DAN WESTFALL, THE HANDLER OF "CHEETAH",THE WORLDS OLDEST CHIMPANZEE THAT STARRED IN "TARZAN OF THE APES" MOVIE FRANCHISEE.I WAS INVITED TO THE "B.B.C" STUDIOS at MAKER CHAMBERS IN MUMBAI FOR A DEBATE ON THE TOPIC OF "PENSION FOR ANIMAL STARS AND CIRCUS PERFORMING ANIMALS".
23 Apr 2004 @ 23:00 by Rudolph.A.Furtado @18.104.22.168 : Interaction with Dan Westfall on B.B.C.
Dan,it was wonderful interacting with you over the radiotelephone on 23/4/2004
Cheeta(Alias jiggs) alive at 71 has proved the fact that "Circus animal and bird performers" can be managed after retirement by 'private owners'.
Martin Lacey,proprietor of"Great British circus" on his recorded tape disagreed about the upkeep of circus performers by circuses on retirement.
I have had pet dogs,one of which was a "Show quality" dachshund and at present a
"Albino oriental Siamese cat" named Trixie and an "Alexandrine parakeet" mittoo.
Their "gimmicks" and "Innate intelligence" astounded me and as laboratory tests
have proved,parrots are as intelligent as apes or more,the most famous being
"Alex",the African Grey.
My observation is that "Pet birds or animals" lose their "Natural Instincts and
behavior"thus becoming more "Humanized",hence cannot be released into the
"Wild" or "Mated".
Encouraging people to keep "Wild apes or birds" should be discouraged and even banned because this will cause a gradual "EXTINCTION" of the particular species.
Parrots,are gradually being driven towards extinction due to the "PET TRADE",
and in India,trade in "Parakeets" is banned.
"Pension for pets" is a necessity until the trade in "Wild pets" is totally or gradually phased away.
Better viewing Chimpanzees and parrots in the wild or "Natural environment zoological parks" than in "Cages".
"Mittoo" my pet parakeet is definitely the last wild bird in my collection,henceforth i would only keep dogs,cats,budgerigars,finches or canaries
as pets,since they can be bred in captivity and not become extinct.
"Mittoo" is 11 years old,a comedian and an excellent mimic,akin to "Cheeta",hope
"Mittoo" has a long life.
P.S :- "Cheetah" expired on Saturday(24-12-2011) of "Kidney Failure" at the "Suncoast Primate sanctuary " in Palm Harbor in Florida and his body was cremated.
|"CHEETA(Jiggs)" playing the piano in his house in Palm Springs in 2003.|
NOTE:- READERS , "MITTOO" HAS BEEN IN MY HOUSEHOLD SINCE 1992 AND THIS IS AN ABSOLUTE TRUE ACCOUNT OF MY OBSERVATIONS OF HIS BEHAVIOR AND MANNERISMS.AS YEARS GO BY I WILL BE DOCUMENTING HIS ENTIRE LIFE IN THIS BLOG,A RARE BENEFIT FOR FUTURE BIRD SCIENTISTS AKIN TO "ALEX" THE AFRICAN PARROT.
I HAVE NOT EXAGGERATED ANY ASPECT OF HIS BEHAVIOR OF "PARAKEET HINGLISH" FOR CHEAP POPULARITY OR SENSATIONALISM."RECORDINGS" OF HIS VOICE ARE ON "YOUTUBE VIDEOS".THIS FACTUAL ACCOUNT OF MITTOO'S BIOGRAPHY WOULD BE HELPFUL FOR FUTURE STUDY ON "PARAKEET INTELLIGENCE" AND ALSO THEIR CONSERVATION IN THE NATURAL WILD.