Alex’s New Toy

The ultimate paper shredder.

One of my Christmas presents this past Christmas was a paper shredder. I purposely asked for one that did straight cuts. Those are the junky, less secure ones. But I wasn’t concerned about security. I was interested in saving money on bird toys.


Parrots, like Alex the Bird, like to tear things up. Care givers, like me, spend hundreds of dollars a year on things for their birds to chew up.

Take, for example, the Parrot Pinata. This is a woven toy made of — oh, heck, I don’t know what it’s made of. Palm fronds? Whatever it is, it’s easy for a bird to chew up. They come in a variety of sizes and colors and styles. Alex likes the $9.99 model. It hangs in his cage for weeks and then one day he’ll decide he’s going to destroy it. He’ll spend most of the day working at it and get about halfway finished. Then he might ignore it for a few more days or weeks. Then he’ll be at it again. Eventually, the only thing left is the string that runs down its middle. I’d say I buy about 4 of these a year. That’s $40 that turns into garbage.

Think I’m nuts? Consider the alternative. An African Grey parrot that is not sufficiently entertained will start plucking feathers off his body. I’ve seen birds that have done this and it’s not a pretty sight. It’s worth the money to keep him occupied and keep his feathers intact.

Enter the paper shredder.

Alex's New ToyI get special credit card offers and other things in the mail that I should be shredding anyway. So I shred them. Then I bunch up some of that shredded paper and fasten it with a plastic wire tie (not a twist tie) to the side of his cage. Now there’s something new to play with. And it didn’t cost me a dime — other than the paper shredder investment, which is one I probably should have made anyway.

Best of all, when he’s done with it, that paper is really shredded.

This morning, I filled one of his treat cages with shredded paper, corks (my sister sends them from New Jersey, if you can belive that), and colorful woven rings that cost about 30¢ each. As soon as I put him in his cage, he was all over it.

We’ll see how long it lasts.

What do you think?