The Gang of Four
by Garry Wallan
Hola! My name is Guapo and Iím the First-hatched member of a flock of
Blue-Fronted Amazons who emerged from their eggs the week after Easter,
2005. I thought I was going to be the only one, but soon I had a brother
(Google), a sister (Ginkgo) and then another brother (Grace) who, by the
time he hatched a week after me, was itty-bitty in comparison.
We lived with our bird mommy and daddy for quite a while until the nestbox
became so crowded that my daddy starting biting everyone. Luckily, our
mammal-dad rescued us and we joined a much larger world. I found out later
that mammal-dad accidentally left mommy and daddy's nestbox up and that we
were kind of a surprise (mommy and daddy hadnít had any chicks for over
twelve years). He could have just thrown us away as eggs; Iím glad he
As we were growing up, mammal-dad (or just Dad from now on) gave us yummy
food, let us wean at our own pace, and provided toys, places to flap our
wings, interesting things to do, and humans to play with. We didnít know
it then, but Dad was giving us ďenvironmental enrichmentĒ which is just a
fancy way of saying he gave us what all parrot-slaves should give their
birds. Now, we are a flock of four who...
Shut up, you! Itís MY turn! Hi, Iím Grace and Iím the real boss, see? I
guess some humans think thatís a funny name for a boy bird, but I donít
care. I like it, so there ppphhhbbbbtttt. Hey, thatís MY toy! Leave it
Hi, itís me, Guapo again. Grace is battling with his brother Google for a
toy they just found. Dad likes to hide them from us just to make us think.
As the First-hatched, I have total rights to all toys I can see or touch,
but I let my siblings have them sometimes so I can nap.
My sister, Ginkgo, is hiding behind some stuff on our play area, watching
the battle. Sometimes she waits for the right moment and runs out to steal
the toy, but usually she stays in the background and lets us protect her
from...from...well, the macaws look sort of threatening over there, and
thereís this funny white bird with a big fluffy head who bounces a lot,
and a grey bird with a red tail, and another Amazon like us who says his
name is Bluto, and who claims heís our older brother from long ago, but I
donít buy it because then HE would have rights to all my toys! None of
them threaten us, really. My sis is just cautious, I guess.
Google and Grace are the singers of the group, and love the ďUP THE SPOUTĒ
part of the Itsy Bitsy Spider song. Grace also likes to hang upside down
like a bat, which is kind of weird. Me? I like to hang out with Dad.
Whenever he brings us food, I like to try to jump onto his shirt and climb
to the Magic Spot on his back where he canít reach me. Itís wicked FUN!
We like it best when Dad brings vegetables, fruit, pasta and beans to us
for dinner. Itís probably the only time of the day we are quiet. Mmmm,
yummy! Other times we play, scream, sing, play, eat, play, and then take
long naps. There are times when....
Hi, Google here! This is MY toy! MY TOY! See it and despair all you
toyless ones! All mine and not yours, or yours, and especially not yours!
Iíll keep this toy forever and ever and never let it go and...oh look, an
Guapo again. I need to go and retrieve the toy Google just dropped. No,
not ďtheĒ toy...MY toy!
And so the Gang of Four, the Four Wingmen of the Aperchalypse, continue
their daily search for toys and new ways to amuse themselves. Who am I?
Iím Bluto, their big brother, patently waiting for the moment when I will
claim ALL the toys.