Humans having telepathic and extra-sensory powers were “Psychic celebrities” since human civilization and in the present commercial age also “Psychic millionaires”. Internationally Yuri Geller is the most famous living “Psychic” and in India Deepak Rao. Animals having a “Sixth telepathic sense” is a “Unproven scientific fact” as acknowledged by a majority of “Pet owners” in their daily interaction with their pets. Human Rationalists would term these occurrences as mere co-incidences,but sometimes, the co-incidences seem too unnatural for human reasoning, hence “Supernatural beliefs” are never out-dated resulting in numerous books, films and debates.
“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 onWednesday(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 ONSATURDAY(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 ?|
Rudolph.A.Furtado.”Mittoo” has now completed 20 years of age in January 2012 and another bizarre occurrence stunned me on Valentines day in 2011.Early on Monday morning(14-2-2011) i heard a loud screeching sound outside my house and observed a beautiful male Alexandrine parakeet perched all alone on the coconut tree in our building compound.He must have definitely escaped from a cage as
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”.|
This was the first instance when i heard him mimicking my cats, absolutely identical, baffling me. He did this continuous “Cat Mimicry” for approximately 15 minutes, later totally silent, his typical behavior.He always “TALKS” only when alone and never in our presence, another strange behavior i can’t explain nor understand.Usually, on public T.V shows or demonstrations they show the parrot uttering a few words in answer to the human handlers talk, most famous being “Alex”, the Worlds best African Grey talking parrot.”Mittoo”, would never be able to demonstrate his “Human vocabulary mimicry” in public or my presence, a total flop for a “Public Demonstration”.Hence i got his talks recorded by a “Tape-recorder” hidden in the gallery and switched onn during his usual “Human vocabulary mimicry”. This procedure required a lot of patience and time akin to “Wild-life photography” of a rare endangered species in the forests.Thanks to the invention of the “INTERNET” and “YOUTUBE” that i managed to make his recordings public for viewers.Prior to the “INTERNET”, his voice recordings were stored on “Tape”.As mentioned, with time mittoo’s behavior has evolved and at times he performs his old mischievous and highly dangerous tricks.He surprised me on Sunday(4-9-2011) by suddenly opening his cage and coming out into the open, his trade mark “HARRY HOUDINI ESCAPE ACT”.I had opened his cage in the morning for cleaning, the gallery window being open with cat matahari lazily sitting on it.After cleaning the cage tray in the toilet on returning back to the gallery i found mittoo happily perched on top of the cage with the gallery window wide open and cat matahari watching him from her seat on the window-sill.I quickly closed the window, providence saving the day with neither the cat being aggressive nor mittoo attempting to fly out of the house.This used to be mittoo’s regular morning act years ago which he abruptly stopped, hence we later never closed the gallery windows while changing his food tray or cage cleaning.This sudden abrupt change in mittoo’s behavior after years proves that parakeets do have a memory akin to humans.Mitto repeated his “Harry Houdini escape act” again the next day in the morning during his regular cage cleaning itinerary. This time i had closed the gallery window with the cats kept in the hall, gallery entrance door being shut.As mentioned, mittoo has repeated this strange behaviour after years, resorting to his childish pranks, comic and astounding.Akin to a monkey using its hands, mittoo uses his beak to open the “cage Door”, besides, he was never trained by me for performing this “HOUDINI ACT”.This proves that parakeets are intelligent birds and can think for themselves.
|“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.
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.
“Status of pet bird trade in Mumbai in 2012”:- After ages visited Mumbai’s famous “Crawford Market” on Wednesday(13-6-2012) to see the “Pet Section”.Was surprised at the transformation of some of the “Pet Shops” and viewed some of the most exotic parrots at a particular pet shop, “Shop Nos 8” owned by Rafat .Khan & Sons. African Grey Congo parrots(Rs 35,000 each)”, “Australian Cockatoo parrots” ,”Macaw Parrots(Rs 1,40,000 each)” , Canaries(Rs 3000)and numerous other exotic parrots which were beyond my knowledge of bird recognition were on sale in this shop.The Currency conversion rate in June 2012 was Rs 55 = 1 U.S $ for the benefit of readers unaccustomed to Indian currency.There was not a single Alexandrine nor a rose-ringed parakeet in the entire market, the sale of indigenous Indian parakeets totally banned for sale or export as pets.Visiting “Rafat Khan & Sons(Shop nos 8)” is better than visiting a “Parrot zoo” although photography is totally banned.In 1992 when i purchased “Mittoo ” as a nestling, the market was filled with rose-ringed and Alexandrine parakeets to be sold as pets, as common as the common rock pigeons, while exotic imported parrots were a rarity. Today in 2012, Alexandrine and rose-ringed parakeets are totally absent in pet shops while exotic imported parrots are not uncommon as pets ..Illegal trade in exotic endangered parrots and parakeets is banned and according to the pet dealer of this shop, all these exotic parrots have been locally bred by “Bird Breeders” in India.It should be true otherwise he wouldn’t be trading these expensive rare birds in full public view in Mumbai’s most visited pet market with the Mumbai Police Commissioners headquarters a walking distance away from his rare exotic pet shop!Ownership of exotic pet parrots has become a common hobby amongst Mumbai’s elite rich as well as a few bird hobbyists.During my occasional visits to the “Phoenix Veterinary Specialty” clinic in Prabhadevi, approx 200 meters from my residence, i have always seen some exotic parrot at the clinic.The clinics owner Dr Shiwani.Tandel is an “Avian and Exotic” animal specialist hence most owners of exotic birds in Mumbai bring their pets to her clinic for treatment and examination. In 1992, ownership of exotic birds in Mumbai was as rare as owning a “Rolls Royce” car while Alexandrine and rose-necked parakeets were a common sight at most homes and slums in Mumbai , a caged bird tethered outside the house balcony , a slum hut or a shop.At times in 2012, flocks of rose-ringed or Alexandrine parakeets can be seen on trees or flying across crowded Mumbai city, a rare sight indicating the aptitude of these birds to inhabit human city’s.These birds must have been escapees or released birds from pet traders that later bred and colonized the city landscape.As a pet caged aviary bird, “Mittoo” is the last of his species to be legally owned before the ban on these species was introduced by the “Wildlife (Protection)Act 1972(Amended in 1991 and 2002)”. Illegal trade in banned birds is still rampant in some parts of India and hope this practice along with rapid deforestation doesn’t result in the ultimate extinction of some of India’s local parakeet species. India does not have any indigenous parrots, something strange for a country with one of the World’s largest species bio-diversity on planet Earth.
On Wednesday(13-6-2012) my housekeeper Sabina.Dias had returned from her short vacation to the exotic sea-coast of Goa and as usual “mittoo” and the cats “Matahari” and “Matata” were happy to greet her.
The very next day on Thursday(14-6-2012) mittoo demonstrated his old “Houdini Escape Act” to Sabina while his cage was being cleaned early in the morning.It seems to have become a habit with him, indicating his level of intelligence as well as memory at remembering his old tricks.
“DADDY ,DADDY, Happy Fathers Day”!?:-Saturday(16-6-2012) happened to be the birthday of my late father Mr.Louis.J.Furtado having expired five years ago on 15/8/2007.”Mittoo” and my father loved each others company as both were confined to the house and dad would spend a few hours talking with mittoo in the gallery.When released from his cage mittoo would fly onto my dads shoulder and walk all over his shoulder and head, never doing this act on anyone else in the house-hold, including myself, the person who hand-fed him as a nestling.Trixie our pet cat during those years was harmless and hence mittoo would fly into the hall from the balcony cage onto my dads shoulder , something i would never dream of with my present Persian cats Matahari and Matata.Strangely on Saturday(16-6-2012) while watching a movie in the hall i heard mittoo talking in perfect parakeet Hinglish in the balcony., something he rarely does, normally uttering the few words, including his own name “Mittoo.Mittoo”.Did he sense my “Dads Birthday”, his favourite person in the house? He spoke for approx ten minutes, akin to the “Mittoo Tapes” that i recorded over a decade ago proving that parakeets have a memory akin to a child.The next day, Sunday(17-6-2012) happened to be “Fathers Day” and i presume it was mittoo’s manner of paying homage to his human father.my father definitely found solace in our pets, “Mittoo” being the most beloved pet as his reponses were similar to a human child.
“MR LONER ALEXANDRINE PARAKEET OF MUMBAI”:- Bizarrely, akin to Alfred.Hitchcock’s, “THE BIRDS” or a Stephen.King supernatural novel ,spotted “MR LONER ALEXANDRINE PARAKEET” on Thursday(27-9-2012) at the Mahatma Gandhi Swimming pool.Read the First part of “Mittoo Diaries” to understand the peculiar and bizarre existence of this bold parakeet in Mumbai city which i have thoroughly documented, akin to professional bird-watchers tagging“MIGRATORY BIRDS”.. On Thursday morning at approx 1040 hrs i had just finished my normal 10 laps of the pool(500 metres), my daily swimming exercise at the M.G.M.O pool..On getting out of the water heard a parakeets screech and on looking up at the coconut trees lining the pool boundary wall sighted “Mr Loner Alexandrine Parakeet” sitting alone on the stump of a dead coconut tree.The “M.G.M.O” pool was rebuilt a year ago and manny coconut trees heads were chopped in the process, just the bare long dead stumps remaining. Manny times i have spotted a flock of parakeets on these trees but today was the first time i spotted “Mr Loner alexandrine Parakeet” at the pool premises, as if this parakeet was tailing me.Having bred and observed“Mittoo” for over 20 years and documenting his life, i have realized that parakeets have their own personality akin to humans.This “Loner alexandrine Parakeet” could be identified by its unique behaviour, most bizarrely, the very fact that whenever i spotted him he was always alone, never in a flock.The predator birds like crows and eagles never bothered him proving that he has lived in the natural wild concrete jungle of Mumbai for years.Nature is strange and stranger is this wonder wild bird of Mumbai city, “Mr Loner alexandrine Parakeet”.
|“Mittoo” aged 20 years 11 months with his owner Rudolph.A.Furtado in his residence in Mumbai. Friday(7-12-2012).|
“Mittoo Flies again(Friday 23-11-2012) and also loses the same !:- After shedding his feathers mittoo had totally lost the power of flight, something that puzzled me. when released from his cage for daily exercises he would just climb to the top and sit on it. occasionally climbing to the clothes wires to nibble at shirt or pant buttons, his favourite destructive prank.About a month ago i observed that mittoo had regained his prowess of flying within the confines of the house gallery. When released he would directly fly onto my clothes and perform a Houdini in nibbling a button, absolutely active. He is now hyperactive , shrieks in the afternoon to be released from his cage and loves spending his time outside the confines of his cage.Strangely ,Mittoo has again lost a few of his primary feathers and hence can’t fly in the New Year(Tuesday 1-1-2013).The photograph below is his normal behaviour of holding a “Chilli(Peppers)” in his beak after exercising in the enclosed gallery.
|FROM THE PARAKEETS CAGE IN MUMBAI WITH A CHILLI IN HIS BEAK :- “Mittoo” at age 21 years on New Years day(Tuesday 1-1-2013)|
http://shiwanibirdvet.blogspot.in/ :- Read this veterinary article on “Alexandrine Parakeets” written by prominent Mumbai avian specialist Dr Shivani.Tandel who has her clinic “Phoenix Veterinary Speciality” near my residence in Prabhadevi.She has clearly stated the dangers of“Alexandrine Parakeets” becoming extinct in the wild due to excessive “Pet Trade”.
MITTOO HAS STOPPED TALKING SINCE NOVEMBER 2013.
|Saturday(11-1-2014):- “Mittoo” at 22 years of age. Note his beak which indicates his age.|
Have observed that “MITTOO” alias “Mittoo the Poppat” has suddenly and abruptly stopped talking or uttering words.Whats the reason for his sudden change in behaviour ? Today he just sreaches loudly in his cage akin to any common parakeet.Do parakeets suffer from Amnesia ? Over the years he always learn’t new words and sentences while forgetting some older human mimicry.I have documented his life since his arrival in my house as a nestling in 1992 akin to a avian psychologist Irene.Pepperberg’s study on “Alex(1976-2007)” the grey African parrot.Read the biography of “ALEX” on this link :- ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_(parrot). Mittoo’s behaviour and characteristics have been minutely documented by me and is a helpful study fort bird psychologists..Thanks to the “INTERNET” he has become a parakeet star and his talking videos are a hit on the internet.He always jabbered a few English words or still better mimicked a few sentences.Initially he would whistle loudly which he abruptly stopped, but he never ever stopped learning new words or totally stopped talking. Today in 2014 any person would mistake“MITTOO” to be a different parakeet, a total wild new Alexandrine parakeet akin to a “TWIN BROTHER” as shown in numerous films and in real life.His favourite words throughout his“Talking Life” were “GOOD MORNING MUMMY” and “MITTOO” as also “DADDY, DADDY“. Hope Avian scientists are able to explain the strange change in the mimicking behaviour of“MITTOO”. WHAT IS THE REASON FOR “MITTOO” alias “MITTOO THE POPPAT” MIMICKING “SILENT MOVIES” RATHER THAN THE “TALKING MOVIES” ?
Thursday(30-1-2014) “MITTOO” regains his voice :- Eureka! I was in my bedroom with English“94.3 Radio One FM ” music playing while reading the classic novel “A Train to Pakistan” by India’s foremost English author Kushwant .Singh.This is my normal afternoon work schedule, relaxing by reading a book or magazine.Later just happened to step out into the toilet.It was then that i heard “Mittoo’s” musical voice.It was approx 1315 hrs in the afternoon, the normal hours that“Mittoo” always spoke to himself prior to his abrupt “PARAKEET VOCABULARY AMNESIA”.Tomcat “Matata” was as usual sleeping on his favourite chair in the hall and hence i taped “Mittoo’s” voice while videotaping “Matata” lazily enjoying his siesta.It was a real relief to hear his magical and musical human mimicry of the word “HELLO”. He just kept on repeating this word along with little “Cat Calls”. After a few minutes he abruptly stopped and became quiet again, his usual self. This is the first time i have taped “Mittoo’s ” voice on a “Video-camera”having made his previous records on “Cassette Tapes” and later dubbing it on video shoots. In the 1990’s when i produced the “MITTOO TAPES” the era of “Digital Photography” was non-existent in India. “Mittoo” has got himself taped on a camera having the modern invention of digital photography and video-tape.Yes, Parakeet “Mittoo” has seen a lot and come a long way as a nestling since 1992 when “Cell-Phones” were a pipe-dream and “YouTube” non-existent to the common photographer.
IS 2014 ELECTION YEAR , THE YEAR OF POLITICAL SATIRE MODEL “MITTOO THE POPPAT” ?
|A “Close-up View” of the Parakeet in the satirical political theatre set.|
Saturday(1-2-2014):- Discovered that “Mittoo The poppat SAYS ” idea is “PLAGIARIZED” at “KALA GHODA FESTIVAL-2014 :- I didn’t realize that “MITTOO THE POPPAT SAYS “ satire on “LEGALIZE CRICKET BETTING IN INDIA” had a huge fan base among political satirists.. Was delighted as well as surprised to find this idea used by a street artist Mr Rajesh.N.Nakar to state and portray a “POLITICAL VOICE” on the forthcoming elections in India .A satirical “Political Set” was erected in a small space on the Rampart Row promenade near Jehangir Art gallery with a parakeet as the spokesman.The title of the visual art was “KYA POPAT BANAYA” !In India, the “Rose-ringed parakeet” was commonly used by street fortune tellers to predict the future by picking a card from a card set when released from its small cage.This profession of “Parakeet Fortune-tellers” has been officially banned although they do practice their trade in villages and at times during local cultural fairs. Readers unfamiliar with Mumbai should know that the “Kala Ghoda Festival” is a annual 9-day festival held in the “Kala Ghoda”locality of South Mumbai(Bombay).It was first started in 1999 and grew in popularity with every successive year.The entire “Rampart Row” area is closed for vehicular traffic during the festival.Rampart Row is the main venue for the “Food Stalls” and street mela(Fair).
|Enlarged view of “KYA POPPAT BANAYA”|
I have portrayed the main skit photo along with enlarged views of the parakeet and his “Political thought” for the benefit of the readers.Every artist is allotted a certain space on the promenade road with boundary markings. I was at the right place at the right time and hence in the main enlarged photo you can see the police advising the artist( white political Cap) to set his “Street Art” within the boundary parameters.
This festival is a mega-carnival of music, pantomime, theatre,cooking, art, literature and street art featuring prominent as well as unknown artists and intellectuals.. Lakhs of people glimpse at these exhibits and visit the stalls on “Rampart Row”, the main venue of the festival.
|Saturday(1-2-2014) :-“KYA POPPAT BANYA” at Rampart Row :- The Artist(Mr Rajesh.N.Nakar) is wearing the “Politician Topi” as also is the “Parakeet”.|
|Tuesday(4-2-2014) :-“Mittoo” alias “Mittoo the Poppat” with “Black Topi” signifying “Black Money” generated by “ILLEGAL CRICKET GAMBLING” in India. “MITTOO” will wear a “WHITE TOPI” when Cricket & Sports betting gets legalized in India.|
“MITTOO THE POPPAT SAYS “ :- I am wearing a “BLACK TOPI” as a protest against the “ILLEGAL PLAGIARISM” of my “INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS “.I HAVE BEEN CANVASSING FOR THE LEGALIZATION OF CRICKET BETTING IN INDIA AND OTHERS ARE COPYING MY IDEAS ! Advertisers and film producers are minting greenbacks on my“INTELLECTUAL PARAKEET PROPERTY RIGHTS”.I AM THE “REAL POPPAT” AND THIS IS MY “POPPAT KURCHI” on which i have modeled for my photo-shoot.Photo permission only to my master Rudolph.A.Furtado. HA HA HA HEE HEE HEE.
|Thursday(3-4-2014):-India’s eminent taxidermist Dr Santosh.Gaikwad giving the final touches to “Mittoo”|
MITTOO EXPIRES ON SATURDAY(10-3-2014) at the age of 22 years :- I was travelling on a train from Mumbai to Aliduarpur in W.Bengal ,a 2 days marathon train journey when i suddenly got a phone call from home.My house-keeper Miss Sabina.Dias informed me that “Mittoo” was lying dead in his cage. I was on a 16 day tour of Bhutan,Darjeeling, Gangtok & Kalimpong, my usual blogging ,touring research holidays every year. Miss Sabina.Dias who cared for “Mittoo” for the last 10 years was at home as usual to look after my two Traditional Persian cats “Matahari” and “Matata” and oldest pet resident parakeet “Mittoo” .As a Gambler/Speculator by profession i am accustomed to “Heart-Attack Shocks” but this was the worst in my life. After my parents demise “Mittoo” was the next living being in my house with whom i had the longest association, although a ordinary Alexandrine parakeet and not some exotic expensive Macaw or African Grey parrot.I made him a internet star as also a model for caring for the“Alexandrine Parakeet”, a research on the breed as a caged pet bird. Sabina was hysteric and she called my next-door neighbour , Mr Hitendra. Soni to whom i spoke over the phone, advising him on preserving the bird in the fridge.I told Sabina to wrap his dead body in a plastic bag and keep it in the “Deep Freezer” of our Godrej Fridge.Bizarrely, this fridge is also one of the oldest fridges in India having been in operation in our house since 1980!I didn’t cancel or postpone my holidays but completed the same in homage to his memory and the years of entertainment he provided to my life at home.Returned back to Mumbai on Sunday(23-3-2014) and deeply felt the absence of “Mittoo” on entering my house, his typical signature “Parrot chirp” missing, the house deathly quiet.Postmortems are useless and i presume he died from a “Heart-Attack” as did“Alex”, the World famous African grey parrot who proved that parrots are intelligent .The next day i contacted my veterinarian Dr Mrs Shivani.Kamath Nee Tandel regarding preserving “Mittoo” through taxidermy.I had seen “National Geographic “ programmes where Americans preserved their pets through “TAXIDERMY” and “Mummification”. I presumed that there would be a few professional taxidermists in Mumbai, most notably at the “B.N.H.S” as they have cupboards of dead preserved birds collected over the decades..She gave me the reference of India’s only recognized taxidermist Dr Santosh.Gaikwad who was also a associate professor of anatomy at the “Bombay Veterinary college” in Parel. The next day i visited the “S.P.C.A” hospital in Parel and met the college doctor. He gave me Dr Santosh.Gaikwad’s phone number but i spent the entire day unable to contact him.I then decided to either go to “B.N.H.S(Bombay Natural History society)” or Crawford Market in order to find someone practicing the art of taxidermy.During the era of Maharajahs, Nawabs, British rule and later Independent India the art of “TAXIDERMY ” was at its zenith in the Country.The total ban on wild-life hunting sounded the death knell of this once flourishing Industry . “Van Ingen & Van Ingen(1900-1999) “ based in Mysore were the biggest and best taxidermists in the World . Their “Tiger and Leopard Trophy’s” are spread in wealthy houses or mansions across the World.At the peak of the “Trophy Hunting” era between 1930’s to 1960’s they processed approximately 400 tigers per year, unbelievable in the 21st century where the animal is on the verge of extinction in forests. They closed down their taxidermy business in Mysore in 1999.Today in the 21st century in India its only Dr Santosh.Gaikwad of the “Bombay Veterinary College” who officially practices and teaches the art of taxidermy.He has worked as a taxidermist on lions, tigers ,elephant, birds ,reptiles and fish, all dead zoo specimens and brought them back to life as natural history exhibits for students and tourists. .On Wednesday(26-3-2014) just as i was about to leave home for “B.N.H.S” situated at Colaba i decided to give a last try on the phone to contact Dr Santosh.Gaikwad. The phone rang and a voice spoke from the other end and i was delighted to be speaking to Dr Santosh.Gaikwad himself, a busy man as a“Celebrity Taxidermist” in India.I explained him my case and he told me to immediately bring the bird to the Parel animal hospital. I quickly picked up “Mittoo” from the deep freezer and put him in my motorcycle dicky. Could have won a prize for the shortest time taken to reach Parel from my residence in Prabhadevi. After “Mahalaxmi race-course”the “Bombay Veterinary Hospital” at Parel was my familiar hobby locality. Both my dogs“Blondie” and “Lucky” got treated in that hospital as also my first cat “Trixie”. I also did some charitable free “Dog-Walking” for the “Stray Dog Ward” in 2004 having met Dr Ashish.Suttar who was then over-all in-charge of the Animal hospital.On reaching the Veterinary “Outdoors Patient Clinic” rang up Dr Santosh.Gaikwad and he came down from the college building guiding me back into the Veterinary college.Unpacked “Mittoo”from the plastic bag and i was surprised at the “FRESHNESS” of his dead body, akin to a bird just dead and not a dead 16 day bird kept in a deep-freezer.He transferred “Mittoo”into the College “Fridge” as dead birds and animals are a part of veterinary study.He told me that he would contact me in a week and on Wednesday(2-4-2014) i received a call from him telling me that the taxidermy on “Mittoo” was complete and i could collect him from his residence in Andheri..Informed him that i would collect “Mittoo” the next day onThursday(3-4-2014). On Thursday(3-4-2014) i set out on a bus to Andheri to Dr Santosh.Gaikwad’s residence. Unfamiliar with Andheri locality traced his residence with some difficulty and reached his home at approx 1900 hrs.I was a bit early and he arrived a few minutes later.He showed me his “Press Write-ups” and “Albums” on his taxidermy specimens, the latest being the last Siberian tiger that died in a zoo.He finally showed me“Mittoo” saying that he had difficulty in getting the bird to its original looks as the head had decomposed a little.16 days in the deep-freezer of a 30 + year old fridge is a unbelievable feat even for professional cadaver preservers.House-keeper Sabina.Dias had done a good job and at least “Mittoo” could be preserved through “TAXIDERMY”akin to a museum specimen. I feel that there is a great future for taxidermists in the “Pet ” business as many owners like me would want to preserve their pets after the death of the pet.The future of “Taxidermy” in India is in the “Pet Industry”, a flourishing business in America.
|Taxidermist Dr Santosh.Gaikwad holding his taxidermy creation “Mittoo” at his home in Andheri.|
He looked“Wet” the way he normally looked after his occasional water dips.Otherwise it was a perfect taxidermy specimen of “Mittoo” the once life of the house with his “Parakeet Hinglish “ and shrill screeches.I paid Dr Santosh the taxidermy expenses of Rs 5000 and the next major hurdle was transporting him from Andheri to Prabhadevi.With great difficulty Dr Santosh.Gaikwad arranged a taxi as rickshaws are the common mode of transport in Andheri locality.It was a long drive through peak hour office traffic from Andheri to Prabhadevi and was glad that “Mittoo” arrived home safely at home, his permanent resting place.
|“Mittoo” in familiar surroundings at home in Mumbai.|
On Friday(4-4-2014) i got a glass enclosure akin to a fish tank fabricated for enclosing and sealing “Mittoo” to prevent atmospheric damage from dust and humidity. In 1992 i had selected “Mittoo” as a nestling from the numerous Alexandrine parakeet nestlings in the cage in a pet dealers shop in Carawford Market.Alexandrine nestlings and grown-up birds were common birds sold as pets in the market before the ban on the trade in Indian parakeet species. I must have paid approximately Rs 200 for him and little did i know then that he would develop into the “Wunder Parakeet” that he became during his life-time, memories preserved in “Youtube Videos” and blogs.He now resembles a“Natural history museum” exhibit in my house although he doesn’t look his original self when alive and the best talking Alexandrine parakeet in India.