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Ask Me Anything #8: Why Zoom? Why Birds?

MiKa Art asks: “Why is your blog name “zoom”? What does it mean to you? When and how did you find out you loved living with birds?”

As I recall, I was creating an online account somewhere, and I tried the name Sooze but it was taken. I kept adding on to it but everything was taken. Eventually I ended up with Soozooming. Years later, when I was setting up my blog, I shortened soozooming to zoom. Z is my favourite letter, and I like that there’s a zoo in Zoom. I prefer Zoom to my real name.

My real name is Susan, and different people call me different variations of it – Susan, Sue, Suzy, Sooze. So my name has always been kind of fluid and changeable and I’ve never really felt like it belonged to me. Susan was a very popular name the year I was born, so there were always at least a few girls in each grade that shared my name, which only added to my sense that my name wasn’t really my own. (Actually, my name was supposed to be Patricia Susan, but my mother claims my father got drunk on the way to the registration office and forgot my name, which is how I ended up with Susan as a first name.)

Zoom feels like my name though. I like that.

Now for the second question: How and when did I find out I loved living with birds?

Well, it all started when my mother’s fiance, Skipper, gave me two budgies for my seventh birthday. I named them Little Joe and Honeybunch. Honeybunch died after a couple of days, and Skipper skipped out after a short while, but Little Joe became a full-fledged member of the family. I loved that friendly little bird.

I always wanted a talking parrot, but I had to put it off until I had the time, space and money. Parrots require a surprising amount of all three.

I do love living with them, but I have to say there are times when I wonder what I’ve gotten myself into. They’re messy and destructive and they’re surprisingly delicate, emotionally. I worry about how they’ll react if I take a vacation. It could be very traumatic for them. And I worry about the logistics of moving if I ever have to do that.

Simon is undergoing a radical personality change. Apparently it’s developmentally normal for African Greys to go through the Terrible Twos, but it’s not easy. He used to be the easiest bird, but now whenever he’s free he’s looking for trouble. Between challenging Kazoo, biting, stealing my stuff, flying and swooping, and landing on my head, he doesn’t let me forget about him for a minute. Even though he’s demanding more independence, he wants my full attention all the time.

But he’s funny, too. He’s got a stainless steel bucket hanging inside his cage, where I keep his foot toys. He likes to take all his foot toys out of his bucket, and then stick his head in the bucket and experiment with sounds. Peekaboo sounds completely different if you say it with your head in a bucket. He proves this to himself over and over by saying it with his head out of the bucket and then with his head in the bucket. Then he’ll try it with hello, wow, and his repertoire of clucks and whistles. It’s hilarious.

The Ask Me Anything series will continue for the next little while. If you have a question, ask it in the comments or by email at zoomery at gmail dot com.

6 comments to Ask Me Anything #8: Why Zoom? Why Birds?

  • Thank you very much! I had no idea ‘Zoom’ was somewhat related to your own name. (I thought maybe it has something to do with “zoom zoom kid” of Mazda. Or it has something to do with the way you zoom into the subjects you are writing about.)

    I like animals though I don’t think I can ever take care of big birds. But I really enjoy reading your life with birds and other animals. (I love looking at bird’s food. I wish somebody feed me stuff like that!) Thank you very much again.

    • I’ll try to post more pix of their breakfast. I wish Simon wouldn’t freeze up every time I pull out the camera. He looks absolutely adorable eating one of those miniature bananas!

  • Hunh. I always figured you didn’t use your given name in order to remain anonymous.

    – RG>

    • Just to the extent that I don’t want my blog to be found if anyone googles my real name. Beyond that, I’ve lightened up on the anonymity thing. (Speaking of which, are you more anonymous now than you used to be, given your current job? I wanted to post a photo I took awhile back, of something that would make a great baby shower gift for you if you ever have a baby, but then I thought it might possibly compromise your anonymity, so I didn’t.)

  • Cara


    If you do go away on vacation I can highly recommend boarding at the Bells Corner Animal Hospital. Heather is the name of the person in charge and she is very familiar with birds as she owns quite a few herself. My two cockatiels have been boarded there, sometimes weeks at a time, for 19 years and are always looked after well. In case you don’t have an avian vet I also recommend Lynwood Animal Hospital in Bells Corner.

  • I have laughed out loud, imagining Simon’s vocal antics. Tell him he needs more cowbell.