The parakeet and a change of heart

Source: Petsmart

Source: Petsmart

A few weeks ago there was a parakeet at my bird feeder. They are not native to my area and it will not survive the winter here. He had gotten out of his safe home.

I know nothing about parakeets but decided to try putting out my finger. If people let him fly loose in a house he may be trained.

No luck. He’s not a finger bird. At least not my finger.

He came every day around 7 p.m. We had dinner together – me on the porch and he at my bird feeder. We chatted about our day (at least I did – he just ate).

I started getting that inner sense that says perhaps I should do something to save it from sure doom in December. (I hate that feeling! It always means work. And heartache.)

There is a bird place near my gym. They sell, buy, and board birds of all kinds. I went there. I found that it’s not unusual for people to lose their birds. The wings need to be clipped so they can’t fly. That sounded extreme.

Flying is the best thing about birds. Soaring again the sky is a symbol of freedom.

Unless I was willing to withhold food (for all my other birds too) and put out a birdcage with food, it wasn’t likely I would catch it. (In my vision I saw 20 doves in a parakeet cage cooing for more chow but no parakeet.) Besides there are other feeders in my neighborhood. I didn’t think this was a dumb bird.

A woman at my gym caught a parakeet a few weeks back. They clipped the wings, bought a cage and food. Then it promptly died. Birds are delicate. You know what happens to people when you (symbolically) clip their wings.

The parakeet went away for a few days, then was back again. Now I haven’t seen it in a week.

It was the most beautiful blue and white one I’ve ever seen. My last memory was as it soared through the trees. “Free as a bird” as the saying goes.

Perhaps when it gets cold I will be able to catch it huddled up somewhere, trying to get warm. Maybe a hawk had it for breakfast. Or it went home. (I like to make my own happy endings in my head. That keeps me sane…sort of.)

My last memory is of a beautiful blue bird enjoying its freedom, flying without a care along with finches, cardinals and doves.

This has changed my attitude about caged birds. They need to be where they can exist free. With unclipped wings.

Fly high blue friend. I’ll be here when it gets cold.

46 thoughts on “The parakeet and a change of heart

  1. I had pet birds over the years – I often wondered if they would long to be outside, especially in the Summer when we would move their cage to catch a little sunlight from the window – they would watch the outside birds sitting on the roof next door (our houses are very close in proximity) or eating maple seeds from the gutters, or drinking or taking a bath in the gutters (ugh). Maybe they longed to be free as a bird as well.

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      • We only had one at a time, but for both of them, first my mom was in the kitchen most of her day so he was never alone and then after my mom died, and I was working from home, I am here in the kitchen most of my day. We had our canaries sleep at night in the TV room – quiet in there so they could get their rest. With Buddy, since I was alone here, I would not get him up until I was ready to start work or home from errands for the day. He actually was never alone. He was a wonderful companion and I was devastated when he had his stroke and I had him euthanized – decided then and there no more pets. Too hard to deal with the loss. My friend Carol is upset since one of her three cats may have pancreatitis. The vet has run multiple tests and kept her at their hospital and they can’t determine the problem. Carol has tried at least a dozen types of food as they think her food she was eating may have been changed … even a little, an enzyme added (or even deleted, but more likely added) causing her to not be able to keep food down. She’s lost a lot of weight and is 12 years old. Carol is sick about it.

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        • Death is a part of pet ownership. It hurts and it’s sad but all the wonderful memories make up for it. I’ve lost a few memorable pets that I still think about but it hasn’t stopped me from adopting. Hope your friend Carol gets good news. When my cat Jake lost a lot of weight, he was diabetic but that would show up in the blood work.

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          • I know Kate and after my canary Sugar died the year I lost my mom, and right before Christmas yet, I swore no more pets. My friend/neighbor Marge said “you are alone – you work from home, you need a pet” so I got Buddy. And I hovered over him like a helicopter parent, so worried something would happen to him, and then he had the stroke – my worst fear. It happened so quickly – he was there and okay, then couldn’t hop or move and I had him euthanized. I hope Carol gets good news as well. It is her only female cat – as a kitten, she thought it was a male and it had a very loud purr like a motorcycle, so she called it “Harley” and she added “June” to the end of the name when she found out it was a female. I know they did blood work and she has been there over the course of the Summer due to the weight loss, but she is worried as she is not eating hardly anything. Carol has been hand feeding her kibble from her hand and she takes that and sometimes can keep it down, but the vet wants her on raw food or moist canned instead.

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  2. I hope he returns, or it’s possible someone else had success capturing him. I prefer a happy story, too…let’s stick with that! As to how birds escape…I raised finches and one time I had watched the babies develop from egg to hatchling and I had about six baby birds in one cage. We set it outside for awhile, under close supervision, and my husband picked up the cage in some undetermined way and the entire little brood escaped! I was in shock for days. I’m sure it didn’t end well, but I’m still hoping one day I’ll see a little flock of finches that look familiar! 🙂

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  3. Punctual bird appearnces somehow assure you everything is right with the world. ( and I make up happy endings in the brain, too. HA HA)
    I could never clip a bird’s wings – it would take away who they are – a sort of living death – like children who are never allowed to get messy or dirty. Against nature.
    Owners say parakeets are smart and like to fly around before heading home. Or maybe a bird met a bird from the wrong side of the tracks…they may both end up on your window sill.

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  4. Maybe he is own his way to Southern California to join one of our flocks of wild parrots. They are so absolutely nuts, though, that maybe a more refined parakeet wouldn’t fit in. I hope everything works out for your lovely dinner companion (and he didn’t become dinner for a hawk).

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  5. After two cockatiels (Annie Andy and Toby) and a Green-Cheeked Conure (Bud Bird) I believe with my whole heart that birds do not belong in cages. They need to be free to fly and do what birds do. I would never purchase another bird. I love your last memory of the beautiful blue bird enjoying its freedom. I will say that we loved our three birds and they were pampered and ate the best fresh greens and fruits and pelleted food with a bit of seed and ate with us at the table sharing our meals. They had more time out of their cages than they spent in them and spent lots of time on our shoulders and cuddled in our hands or in my hair. They took showers with us and talked up a storm. We loved them. And I still miss them… 🙂 I enjoyed this post, Kate.

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  6. How delightful it must have been to see such a beauty enjoying the free meal that you put out regularly for your feathered friends. A new face, and such a truly gorgeous color variation. How fun. I do hope he’s still out there enjoying his freedom, soaring around in the trees.

    I have a truly ugly red cardinal … we call him the dinosaur bird … that visits my feeder every evening. He is bald on top of his head, his feathers point out at odd angles, his color is dull and blotchy, and his eyes seem too big for his head. And, of course, he’s become my favorite bird of all of them.

    Even when I’m feeling super crummy and don’t have the energy to shuffle across the kitchen floor, if I see the dino-bird out there patiently waiting for his dinner, I head on out to fill up the feeder. I’m not even technically a “bird person”. Something about that ugly bird just scratches away at the soft places in my heart, though. My guess is that he’s either a very old bird, or the ugly duckling of the cardinal family. But he makes me smile. 🙂

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  7. I’m hoping he headed south where he can spend the rest of his short life by the shore with a little umbrella in his drink!

    Good for you trying to take care of him, though, Kate!

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  8. Maybe he will visit you often in the colder months and you could put a specific feeder somewhere warmer to entice him into a cage. I hope he’s OK. I love to watch the birds (apart from the gulls, herons and crows who have pinched most of the ducklings this year).

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  9. Hope this birdie makes it without your intervention. Have you considered posting an ad or posters in your area to look for the owner? Or a bird lover with a cage might want to try to trap it and adopt it.

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    • No. You can’t get near the bird and it’s not likely to go into a strange cage while there is food available. The owner may put out a cage and be more successful. Since I see it rarely, there’s not much I can do. If I see it when it’s cold, I’ll be more concerned. I have a friend who is willing to adopt if it gets caught. Right now it has a few more months of freedom.


    • Thanks. There is something about animals that touches my heart. Sometimes good and sometimes sad. Perhaps the bird will find it’s way home when it’s ready. The bird place said they had a call about a lost blue bird so it was loved.

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  10. The mentality that says it’s ok to clip birds wings, is no different from that which justifies docking (cutting short) a dog’s tail or clipping its ears…. just because that is the human expectation of that breed. Cruel and sick!

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  11. Your parakeet (looks like a budgerigar to me) knows exactly where his home is, and was probably just ecstatic and being free to play in the air currents! He’ll head for home when the temperature starts to fall. 🙂

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