So we bought a bird. Syd named him Tweety (after rejecting my suggestion of Beeblebrox). Unlike the mammals in the house, Tweety is surprisingly low maintenance. We fed him the first night and as of this morning, his food and water are still amply supplied. (Although Ann may have fed him while we weren't watching. She's pretty good at guerrilla-style house-cleaning.) Other than that, he's there for our enjoyment when we want him, and doesn't whine (or bark incessantly!) when we want to ignore him.