An online friend recently got a couple of new birdies, and as I read her posts about them I kept thinking … I miss having a bird. I have had finches and budgies in the past, and I always thought they were sorta like decorations only they moved and had a bit of a personality. The small parrot family birds, though … way more than decorations! Little packages of personality and charm and chirp.
So I asked my husband one night if he’d care if I got a bird. He said as long as it stayed in the south wing (which is ‘my’ part of the house) he didn’t care. (Now, when he found out today that I actually DID get birds, he does not remember the conversation … I think he didn’t think I was serious, and just kinda blew it off. Oh well, I did ask!)
Right. So I had permission (well, I thought I did … now I will just have to earn forgiveness), the next step was information. I read about different birds on the web. I messaged my friend with the new birds, and she gave me lots of practical information and sent me links to more web pages. Then I posted on Kijiji (like Craigslist) that I was looking for a bird.
Eventually, I heard from a lady who had two male lovebirds, over 10 years old (they live 10-20 years, so these are senior birds) that she’d inherited from her mother and she was thinking they’d be happier elsewhere. Friendly guys, if territorial about their cage, and they came with everything I’d need. Deal! I went and picked them up today.
They are Kiwi and Melon - Kiwi is obviously the green one, Melon is blue with a cantaloupe coloured forehead.
The house they came from apparently had indoor smokers … everything smelled awfully of smoke, so I got rid of the rope perches, washed everything, put in natural wood perches from outside, and wrapped up a couple of the wooden toys in newspaper, if the stink goes away, then I can use them again. They’ve been on a seed-only diet, so it’ll take some time to transition them to healthier food, they don’t even seem to recognize snap peas or cut up grapes as being edible, but I am sure they will figure it out eventually.
They spent a bunch of time climbing the bars of the cage and cheeping loudly, they are now settled on a perch together and preening, making the occasional chirp. When they get going they are LOUD BIRDS but hopefully once they calm down and get the hang of some of the enrichment toys I plan for them (mostly ‘foraging for food by ripping apart packages with food hidden inside’ type things) I suspect they will be happier.
For the next bit they have to just stay in the cage, everyone has to get used to the change … but they are right beside my chair here and looking out at me and I am happy. :)
And for my mom, who worries about zoonotic illnesses, handwashing and clean cages are important to reduce trasmission risk – and they’re no riskier than the chickens we have outside. :)
As for why I felt like birds would be good for me right now … my friend with the new birds put it really well: “Birds need things humans need. And its easy to forget for both. We need sun, and air, we need water both for drinking and bathing. We need nutritious food AND treats. We need to be willing to try new things. And we need exercise and playtime. And sleep. I think when humans and birds have those things they are both much happier. And birds have no other purpose but to live and play. You don't have a 'working bird'. Birds are not 'mousers'. They are for the living.”
I’m hoping Kiwi and Melon can teach me something about living.