Not Just for Kids

 Vol. 10, No. 39

September26- October 2, 2002

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Maryland’s Poet Laureate Michael Collier

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The Trouble with Birds
by Cynthia Owens

Birds can be amazing creatures, constantly doing something new and unexpected. Teri Latham and Jim Turnbull, residents of Charles County who have turned their house into an aviary, know this well.

Merlin, an umbrella cockatoo, is what Jim refers to as a “Velcro bird.” The bird has to have your attention — unless he
wants to get into something he shouldn’t. Merlin is white by nature, but he tends to look a little dirty because he rubs against Teri’s face, rubbing her makeup all over himself.

Makeup isn’t the only thing he gets into. He also loves to play with socks and quarters. Worse are pens, for they smear ink all over the house. He knows when he has done something wrong, because he will rub his head against Jim or Teri’s and say, “I’m sorry.”

Merlin has renamed himself “Arty good bard,” which seems to have evolved from “I’m a good bird.” He says he’s a good bird if he wants to get out of his cage.

Merlin loves his bean dip.
Merlin loves to snuggle under the covers with Teri.
Mischievous Merlin
Merlin’s favorite hangout.
Moe, after eating corn.
It is rare to find Merlin in his cage. He can usually be found hanging off of a door or snuggling under the covers with Teri. When he is with Teri, he prefers to be left alone, and he lets Jim know about it. The bedroom is the only place where Merlin does not like Jim because the bird thinks Teri is his mate, and they deserve their privacy.

In addition to Merlin, they also have a blue and gold macaw named Moe. Moe can’t fly because his wings have been clipped, but that doesn’t stop him from trying. He falls every time he tries.

He can be just as mischievous as Merlin. Moe likes to give the fire call, causing all of the birds to take off flying. No matter how many times he does it, they still take flight. Moe also repeats anything that someone yells near him, so everyone should watch their language around him — but sometimes they forget. Moe reminds them.

Birds are said to lack taste buds, but Moe still has strong preferences for certain foods, including ice cream, cheese and even hot sauce. He also enjoys cookies and soda, which he asks for with a kiss.

Teri and Jim have also housed such birds as cockatiels, lovebirds, emus, a peacock and a mini macaw named Sid Vicious, who was well named.

Kids Calander

Friday, September 27
Manic Mosaic
In this class for the entire family, learn how to make a mosaic frame. ‘Mosaic’ means it is made up of a bunch of different pieces of items. 11am @ Paint ‘N Pottery, Huntingtown North Shopping Center $30/frame; Rsvp: 410/257-2207.

Saturday, September 28
Wildlife Wonders
In this program for ages 3-5, you can read the story “I Went to the Bay,” count the number of animals in the story, then take a hike and try to find them yourself. 10am @ Kinder Farm Park, Millersville. $2; Rsvp: 410/222-6115.

Previous winner Brian Hoffman
Tuesday, October 1
Scholarship for the Arts
Hurry, today is the last day to apply for a scholarship awarded by the National Foundation of Advancement in the Arts. Ages 17-18 can apply in the fields of dance, film & video, classical, pop & jazz music, photography, theater, visual arts, voice or writing. Scholarship winners also attend an all-expense paid trip to Miami for ARTS week. Apply through your high school arts teacher, call 800/970-ARTS or visit

Through October
Countin’ Candy
Throughout the month of October, stop by Northeast or North Beach Community Center and try to guess the number of candy corns in the jar at the front desk. It’s yours if you guess right. Ends October 29: 410/257-2554.

Copyright 2002
Bay Weekly