Late last year we met Eliza Two*, the new cockatiel acquired by our grand nephew and niece. She's a beautiful little thing who adores human company. She walks up your arms, nestles into your neck, pecks softly at jewelry and loves to be petted and scratched. When you stroke her head, she closes her eyes and lets her head fall forward, moving to the left and right adjusting herself so her itchy spots gets scratched. Crowds of people don't bother her - she's as personable in her cage as she is perching on a human hand. We were all crazy about her.
Eliza Two's arrival on the scene (via a pet store) prompted a few stories about bird acquisitions from my brother-in-law who has owned a few.
Bird Story One: Driving through Forest Lawn Cemetery, winding slowly around the hills, Richard's brother Jim stopped his car for a minute to get out and stretch his legs. Suddenly, a parakeet fell from the sky and landed with a plop on the car hood. Jim described the bird as looking "dazed and confused". Jim looked at the bird for a minute, picked it up, opened his car door and set the bird down on the seat. He claims the bird sort of sighed, as if in great relief. What to do? Jim drove to the pet store and bought a cage. That was the start of a ten year relationship.
Bird Story Two: Earl Grey. The next bird arrived in the household via the chimney. Jim walked by the fireplace and heard some cheeping. On closer inspection, he found a very small bird, just a baby, quivering on a ledge inside the chimney. What to do? Another cage was acquired and "Earl Grey" joined the household. As time passed, they realized Earl Grey wasn't really grey, as they thought, but actually white, once he preened the soot off himself. Earl (dropped the Grey) never seemed to get completely settled.
Bird Story Three: Lola. The last of the series, Lola didn't drop into their lives. She was acquired the conventional way, by purchase from a pet store. Lola, a female, was intended to assuage Earl's constant agitation but unfortunately she made things worse. For Earl it must have been like getting an unwanted "mail order" bride. Lola and Earl had serious domestic problems. Like the Bickersons, they fought over everything: the perch, the food, the toys. Recently Earl developed bronchial problems and died after three days of illness. Lola is now a Merry Widow and Jim reports that she's a much happier bird on her own.
*Eliza One is buried in the back yard.
Update: Eliza Two got out of her cage and flew away - July 2014. Everyone is heart broken but we hope someone found her and gave her another home.