For the Love of Birds

I realized I told you the story of how birds came into my life and how I got hooked on them. But I didn’t go deep enough to explain why I love them so much. And chances are I can’t actually explain that to you. But possibly you, too, know the feelings.

When I look at my little lovebird, Fin, who survived having his beak badly damaged, I sometimes relive that horrible moment when the injury happened. That was about a year ago, and he has become a happy, healthy companion bird. When he sleeps in my hand, I know he has forgiven me for allowing him to be in harms way, and is my buddy. He’s been known to fling himself on the ground so he can walk around and find me.

fin in hand

Listening to our waterschlager canary trill and sing for several minutes on end does such a number on my emotions. Sweet little yellow bird has only one goal in life, to sing his little heart out. He did successfully father babies, but the chicks were killed or allowed to die. I think it was due to our rodent issues at the time.

Bubbles on the nest


Recently I won four zebra finch males, and just got four hens from a friend. Each zebra finch male has his own trumpet call. They compete for the hens and territory, so I will not set them up to breed until I can get enough cages set up for one pair per cage. Their regular meeping sounds, the expectation of eggs and babies, and wondering what the chicks will look like fill me with so much anticipation. Birds give me something to look forward to.

My special needs Congo African Grey, Bo Dangles, has come a long way in the five or so years she’s live with us. She now will walk out of her cage (In spite of having lost her toes as a chick, she can walk a little on the ankle stubs left to her) onto a towel over a cage grate. She remains there until I place her on the floor. She scoots around on the floor, biting shoes that come too close, talking and waiting for her apple treat, and in general just having a great out-of-cage experience. She also lets me scratch her head and preen her pin feathers. Now and then she will try to bite me, but no longer with actual intent. She just likes to see me flinch.

Better Bobo Closeup

Even more amazing, and heartwarming, she has allowed a friend who comes over a couple times a month to reach through the bars and scratch her head. Bobo has learned the value of humans, and again, that makes me smile and feel happy.

Every one of my birds gives me some joy, even the ones that are just going to be in their cages most of the time. But you have to know that Maynard, my double yellow headed Amazon is the top of the list. He’s so much like a puppy in the way he plays with me, wrestling and biting but not really hurting. Since we adopted our dog, Tilda, Maynard has been stand-offish, not at all happy at the new resident. Tilda loves to sleep on my lap during my afternoon break, and Maynard finds that a problem. He has started to return to his former behaviors, playing and letting me scratch his head, after chasing the dog away. My relief that I didn’t ruin my relationship with him is huge.

Maynard does laundry

Then there’s the doves who let us pick them up to check for and remove eggs, the cockatiels in the aviary who come and sit on my shoulder as I change the food and water, and the button quail who have learned the dog can’t get to them so they ignore her barking. I absolutely love every one of these beings with whom I am lucky enough to share my life. They don’t have to do anything, really, just be and live.

Thank you for reading, I’ll be back on Sunday.

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