Birds And More Birds
June 26, 2012 Leave a comment
Five years ago we got a Cockatiel. We named her Una (I did and it’s YOU-na) Being a rescue, she came pre-programmed with the ability to whistle songs and talk. My husband always wanted a bird. I, on the other hand, was raised in a house where a birds presence meant that someone didn’t close the fireplace flue. A flapping bird would be met with trash can helmets and a Hitchcockian sense of panic.
It took me a while to get used to the bird. But I did and one bird led to another. Joe wanted Una to have a friend so I let him get a parakeet, Ben Franklin Kenobi. Unfortunately, 2 years later Ben went to the big aviary in the sky when he got overzealous during an eclipse. The really hard part was that it was winter and the ground was too frozen to bury the bird. So, we wrapped him in a towel, sealed him in a vacuum bag, and stored him in our extra freezer. Now I felt sorry for Joe and Una (and Ben) so sent Joe to the store for a new parakeet and he came back with a discount Cockatiel, Dave.
Unfortunately, Dave was much younger than we were told and we were ill-equipped to to give him the care he must have needed. One day I found him listless on the bottom of the cage. I summoned Joe who tried to help him and the poor little guy passed in Joe’s hands, another bird for the freezer.
I did not know much about birds before this journey but I quickly realized that a bird is not a simple pet. At first I associated a bird with a hamster or a fish when it’s really more like having a dog or cat. Birds do give back. Cockatiels are gentle and responsive pets. And similarly, to a dog or a cat, you would not want to get one from a pet story. A hatchery is a better idea.
Or…a rescue. Which is what we did again. Two years later, we took in 2 Cockatiels and 2 English Bugees (parakeets). One Bugee died within a few months (freezer). But Gomez and Morticia, the Cockatiels, seemed to be thriving.
Spring came and with it a “clutch” of 5 eggs which yielded 4 baby Cockatiels. We were completely freaked out by our unplanned bird pregnancy. Suddenly we had to learn terms like “nest boxes” and ” candling.” From Gomez and Morticia we acquired Cousin It, Pugsley, Wednesday, and Lurch. We were able to sell Pugsley. Now Gomez and Morticia really need to curb their mating but they were relentless. Never in my life did I think I would have to consider methods of bird contraception.
We move. We buy a new climate controlled, plexi-glass cage the size of a refrigerator. We think bird reproduction has slowed down.
And then a new set of eggs came. This time 4 eggs were laid, 4 hatched but 3 chicks did not survive. Now, the one little chick who is left has been kicked out from the nest box to make room for…yep, more eggs.But the one remaining chick is not being fed. After an informative trip to our local bird store, Joe takes on the ultimate responsibility of birds, he starts hand feeding the little guy with a syringe. And I’m right there watching and coaching the little guy along.
I have learned that birds can be very cheerful, pleasant pets. They are not very high maintenance but give you a lot of affection in return.
My only problem are the two hot and heavy birds. Why won’t they stop? Gomez? Morticia? Give it a rest. Aren’t you tired? Dehydrated? She just keeps pumping them out. Pumping being the operative word in this situation.
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