Swashbuckling sea-plunderer seeks parrot/perch solution
July 21, 2006 1:02 AM   Subscribe

Ahoy askm[ateys]! Help a pirate keep her parrot on its perch. There is

My eye-patch, sword (glow in the dark, natch), and bottle o' rum are shipshape. But my parrot -- a mangy-feathered grog guzzling bilge-rat of bird if ever there was one -- will not hold fast.

Tried so far: elastic (unfortunate effect on puffy pirate shirt) and carrying parrot (could be awkward if need to swill rum and wield sword concurrently).

Particulars: parrot is about the size of a budgerigar, weighs about 150 grams and is made of plastic.

Pirate is mid size wench planning night of adventure on the high seas at the local tavern in company of like-minded privateers, tomorrow.

I will not be keelhauled or leaping about the rigging. So no naval-standard knot work needed. I hope.

I would like keep my brand new, rather nice and quite expensive shirt in decent condition. Superglue and tar are out.

Heave-to, haul away and a barrel of rum to the sea-dog who fixes firm the pox-faced beastie to its buccaneer.
posted by t0astie to Grab Bag (25 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: A thought that comes to mind... wear an undershirt, and pin the bird to the undershirt through the overshirt. You could possibly use the smallest and cheapest of stud earrings if you can't find anything that attaches better. That would make two small holes through the outer shirt, but it would probably work.

Another thought would be to use magnets... the rare earth magnets are INCREDIBLY strong. You'd again wear an undershirt with a pair of magnets stitched to just the right spot, and then put magnets on the bird's feet. (you might need to scoop out some plastic and then epoxy the magnets in there.) You might need four magnets per foot for front-back stability, but you could get away with two if the feet are big enough.

Whether or not you can do that by TOMORROW, I don't know, but I bet the magnets would work. If you get some extras, you could probably make several attachment points for your bird.
posted by Malor at 1:17 AM on July 21, 2006

Best answer: Might not be the most comfortable solution, but how about attaching a magnet to your shoulder under your shirt with tape, and gluing/tying another one to your feathered companion's feet, and attaching and detaching the parrot as needed by magnetic force?
posted by fvw at 1:20 AM on July 21, 2006

Best answer: On failed-to-preview, Malor beat me to it. He gets extra points for the multiple attachment points idea. I can think of some unconventional and entertaining places to attach a parrot.
posted by fvw at 1:20 AM on July 21, 2006

Best answer: Another vote for magnets. Your local radio-shack-esque store should have those weeny rare-earth magnets fvw refers to.
posted by pivotal at 3:06 AM on July 21, 2006

Best answer: Is there a hat or bandanna that could assist? One that you can use superglue on?
posted by b33j at 3:17 AM on July 21, 2006

Best answer: Er, in reviewing.... I said 'four magnets per foot' and then 'two' ... when I really meant 'two or one'. Oops.

The bandanna idea might work. You could tie a bandanna around your upper arm/shoulder and attach the bird to that. Just stitch his little feet on. That should still look pretty piraty.

If people mention the bandana, roll your eyes and explain how your parrot refuses to be potty-trained. :)
posted by Malor at 3:34 AM on July 21, 2006

Best answer: Let the parrot dangle and flop around as it wishes. Tell everyone it's pining for the fjords.
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:55 AM on July 21, 2006 [3 favorites]

you could use wire. Use a firm wire like picture-hanging wire to wrap around your brrrra strrrap (that's piratese) to create a stable perrrch. then wrap a thinner wire around the bird's feet (not tighly, just enough to create a steady base) and run the wire through the puffy shirt (ideally, run through the shirt in three spots for max balance). It's probably a woven shirt, and you can avoid creating a hole by working the fabric apart and threading carefully, as with any pin or brooch.

Attache the thinner parrot wire to the wider bra wire.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 5:10 AM on July 21, 2006

Best answer: I actually meant to wear the bandanna on the head with the bird stuck to it, but Malor's suggestion is much more sensible.
posted by b33j at 5:17 AM on July 21, 2006

Best answer: If you can do the magnets, and have time to set it up, see if you can hide one in the parrot's back somewhere.

Then, after a long night of drinking, lay the parrot down on your shoulder and claim he passed out.
posted by Malor at 6:07 AM on July 21, 2006 [1 favorite]

For stability, with the Parrot on your left arm (so as to leave your sword arm unemcumberrrrrred) you need a loop of elastic that goes from the top of the shoulder across your chest and under the right arm, another that goes under your left arm. The magnets are a great idea.
posted by theora55 at 6:33 AM on July 21, 2006

What about sew-on velcro hook and loop fastener?
posted by jewzilla at 10:42 AM on July 21, 2006

Considering the location indicated in your profile you'd better be sure any solution you use is also waterproof.
posted by phearlez at 11:06 AM on July 21, 2006

I see two issues, fastening, and stability. Malor's various magnet ideas are great for fastening, but if the only structure holding the base is the shoulder fabric of a loose pirate shirt, it just isn't going to stay upright (even a relatively tight undershirt/t-shirt probably won't do it). Well, it might be enough for side to side flopping, but it won't be enough front to back..

Maybe you could sew some plumbers strapping (available at any hardware store, very cheap) along a bra strap. It bends fairly easily - the stiffness is comparable to a coat hanger's - so you should be able to conform it to your shoulder in a way that is comfortable enough. I'm thinking a long piece that goes all the way to the under bust band (whatever you call that) back and front.

If you have to, you can just bend it back and fourth a bunch of times to break it off at lengths. You might need a file to smooth off the ends though..
To hide the cut edge, you can just fold the ends over twice to form a little roll - make sure it goes away from your body to avoid irritation! You'd have to play around a bit, obviously..
posted by Chuckles at 11:18 AM on July 21, 2006

Best answer: Why not wire his head to one corner of your tricorne hat?

What? No tricorne hat? Arrrr.
posted by ikkyu2 at 12:55 PM on July 21, 2006

I know nothing about pirates or how to attach said bird to your clothing, but I want you to know that this is probably the best-written AxMe question that I have ever read. It made me want to keep reading!
posted by davidmsc at 1:29 PM on July 21, 2006

Best answer: Maybe you should sacrifice a belt or two and construct a bandolier that the parrot could be more firmly attached to? Then you'd also have a place to stash the sword.
posted by cobaltnine at 2:42 PM on July 21, 2006

Best answer: Real parrots have grippy little claws that make 'em perfect for shoulder-perching -- they can do the mashed potato(e) up and down your shoulder in a 20-knot breeze. Cheap plastic faux-parrots do not. My suggestion: A couple stitiches with needle and thread thru the bird's grip-less feet and into the shoulder seam of your nice shirt. Unless there's severe drunken parrot-bopping later, stitches are removable and shirt will be none the scurvier for it.
posted by turducken at 11:07 PM on July 21, 2006

Response by poster: Avast there boyos! A 300-litre keg of Jamaica's finest to the swell coves who suggested a different fixing point.

I lack a tricorn -- hat hairrrrrrrr -- and while I do, forsooth have a bandolier, noble Cobaltnine, it is silken and cost more doubloons even than the shirt.

The mutinous bird has been brought to heel (or tavern, as it were) lashed firmly to the mainsail hilt of my sword.

Pieces of eight to the brilliant blaggards who suggested magnets. 'Tis a pirate-pitying shame, but a hard day before the mast left me with no time ashore to purchase said wond'rous devices. Your magnificent suggestion will be logged for posterity in the ship's, ah, log.

Turducken, I do have a real parrot. Well.... He, however, somewhat lacks the freewheeling advent'rus spirit so essential to a life before the main, taking fright at even the most subdued of sea shanties.

And what do you mean 'unless' there will be severe drunken parrot bopping? Five lashes of the cat's tail and over the side, addlepated cur!

There's no unless about it.

Yarrrrr. I sail now for Pirate Cove.

Turducken: the waters below my ship are but shallow, matey and the cat is made of ribbon, forsooth.
posted by t0astie at 2:48 AM on July 22, 2006 [2 favorites]

For what it's worth, I've actually gone through this with a fabric parrot, and keeping it upright is by far the harder task than keeping it attached. If there's any way to fill the thing such that it's bottom heavy that helps immensely.

My fabric parrot had feet that I could pass things through, and what I ended up doing was running my bra strap through one foot, and running a choker necklace through the other foot. That attached the bird to my shoulder and neck, but without bottom heaviness, it didn't stay upright as much as I would have liked. I've since replaced some of the stuffing with red kidney beans and the parrots sitting ability is much improved.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:47 PM on July 22, 2006

Response by poster: Jacquilynne - evisceration! Arrrrr, that'll learn him.
posted by t0astie at 7:25 PM on July 23, 2006

...and the denouement?

Did Polly survive Pirate Cove? Was Nathanial Mayweather there? (And if so, was there any monkey-buying?)
posted by turducken at 7:35 PM on July 23, 2006

Response by poster: Aye, me hearties, 'twas wild and salty abandon indeed.

Three score and more thirsty sea dogs, Brethren of the Coast and pliers of the sweet trade one and all, did merrily splice the mainbrace o'er through the long tropical night.

A host of comely Jennys danced merry jigs around flickering braziers and handsomely supplied the comp'ny from many a hogshead of ale.

Deals were done, names were marked and backs were stabbed.


I woke, amidships, about three the next day, recalling but dimly the commandeer of a cab barque somewhere before dawn.

The light, the terrrrrrible light. How it burned.

A quick squint about the rigging through my spyglass confirmed my darkest fears: the feathered fiend had flown.

I righted my eye-patch, strapped on my second-to-best wooden leg, hauled up the Jolly Roger and flogged the cabin boy for answers.

Before he set to swabbing the decks to fund a new bird ('I be telling you when you be crimped signed up son,' I said, 'every parrot you loose for me comes straight out of your pocket') he confessed Polly had abandoned ship in the aftermath of a rousing session of thrust and parry with a British admiral.

Accursed English.

Phearlz, X marks the spot but not on Google Maps. D'ye take me for a bilge sucking dog that I would hand those pillaging sons of biscuits Page and Brin the coordinates of my hoard on a splendid gold and ruby encrusted platter plate? No nay ne'er! Pirate Island remains uncharted.
posted by t0astie at 11:12 PM on July 23, 2006 [1 favorite]

Clamp one hand around his beak and melt his little legs
posted by bullnipple at 3:34 AM on August 12, 2006

My parrot holds a helium balloon in his beak. He looks a bit wobbly but doesn't require any parrot-surgery.
posted by XMLicious at 3:46 PM on August 14, 2006

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