I recently adopted a sweet, funny green cheek conure whose owner wanted him to have a chance to be around other conures. He was getting too attached to her other bird, and that attachment caused problems. I took Nacho in with the understanding she can come visit him at any time and he will be her bird if she ever decides to take him back. That’s always been my understanding with my adopted birds. I am mostly fostering them.
But as the young woman looked around at all my birds, she asked me, “Why do you like birds?” Caught unprepared, I had not really clever or succinct answer at that time, but I thought about that question over the last few weeks since Nacho got here. Why do I like birds?
When I was young, my mom had a parakeet. I’m almost positive his name was Pretty Boy. He was an introverted chatterer. If you were looking at him, he would not say a word. But when you were distracted doing something else, he’d start babbling away. I don’t clearly remember what he said, but I do remember feeling a deep affection for that little blue bird.
Over the years, my pets included ducks and chickens, and I had an on-again, off-again relationship with a blue jay. I never fed the jay, but he was always hopeful. While I walked my dog in the park behind the apartments I lived in, he would follow me around and squawk and chirp. I would try to answer him. I believe he was trying to teach me to speak a real language. Sadly, I failed.
But how intriguing to have that connection with a wild animal. I pretty much loved all animals, but when I became an adult (which I do not recommend to anyone) I was allowed to have birds more readily than dogs or cats. Which is odd because birds can do way more damage to a home than most cats or dogs ever would.
A friend’s mother raised zebra finches and had a beautiful aviary along the side of the family room. The inside wall was all glass, so I could sit and watch the birds carrying on with their mating and foraging and fighting. I found it very relaxing. And before long I had purchased a pair from her.
The zeebs had a nest, laid eggs, and when the eggs hatched the dad went crazy and killed the mom. He didn’t sit on the babies or feed them and I lost them too. But the thrill and excitement of those tiny babies and the beautiful finches hooked me solidly.
Soon after that, I got my first cockatiel. But that’s a story for another day. Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Sunday.