Photos by Jamieleigh Location: Dawn Princess, Princess Cruise Lines Drinking: Swainson Toucan "Fiji"
A few years ago on board Princess Cruise Lines, I was with my Swainson Toucan, Fiji. Now Fiji knew a few behaviors on cue but I hadn’t gone into much detail with her on any real tricks. I was happy just having her around.
She pretty much owned the bathroom in my stateroom – I had set up a shower perch for her and she had fresh fruit prepared by the ship daily (thank goodness I got a break from preparing it!) and showered every day as well. At night the curtain was drawn and she slept in the pitch darkness until 12-14 hours later when I woke her up – just the way she liked it.
Well, Fiji kept hopping over to the sink from her shower perch and after watching me turn the faucet on and off, she got the hang of it! I found out one day when I came into the room and as I stepped by the bathroom, the carpet was mushy. I saw water rise up and my foot slowly soak.
Bewildered, I opened the bathroom door in a panic only to find Fiji looking at me innocently… The entire bathroom was flooded, the sink was full of water and Fiji had had herself a nice bath! She looked happy as could be and wondered what my problem was! I looked past the floor where all the towels were drenched and at her soaked (but clean) plumage. She was ready for a night on the town, feeling happy and clean as could ever be achieved! While I had to figure out how I was going to explain to the neighbors downstairs… “My toucan did it!” was pretty much like saying, “My dog ate my homework.”
I knew no one would believe me and from that point on, I couldn’t leave Fiji alone in the bathroom anymore because she was having so much fun turning on the water but neglected to learn how to ever turn it off. Yes, I gave her plenty of chances too and too many times we woke in the middle of the night and asked one another, “Did someone just turn the water on?”
Article by Jamieleigh Womach. She has been working with parrots and toucans since the age of 17. She isn’t homeless but is home less than she prefers to be. She travels the world with her husband, daughter, and a flockful of parrots whom she shares the stage with.