One of several jobs I do for my bird club is monitor and answer the club emails. A member of the public didn’t know who to contact to rehome a cockatiel, so she reached out to the San Diego Audubon Society. I had just met the Audubon volunteer in March and of course I was happy to try to help the person with a cockatiel in need of a home. When I met the woman surrendering the bird, I was super impressed with her kind heart and thoughtfulness.
This lady whom I will call Nellie is a caregiver. Five years ago she was caring for an elderly couple when the husband passed away. The widow was suffering from dementia and while the relatives were happy to sell the home and take the profit, no one wanted to take the woman in or pay for her care at a home. Nellie decided to take her patient, Marge, into her home. She already had rescued dogs there, a rescued elder would fit right in.
Marge had a cockatiel she named Honey Bun. He was her companion and treasure, always by her side. Until one day when Marge left a cage door open and Honey Bun took flight. She didn’t notice his absence for a day or two which gave Nellie time to find a replacement. She needed a pied male that was fairly tame. A young girl had decided she wouldn’t have enough time for her pet tiel in high school and connected with Nellie.
Honey Bun 2.0 joined the family. Nellie put him in the cage and waited for Marge to notice. Soon, the older woman was taking the bird out of the cage. “Where have you been, Honey Bun?” She kissed him and stroked his feathers while he chirped at her. “You sure are nicer now.”
Maybe Marge did suspect the switch, but she didn’t say anything else about it. For five years Marge and Honey Bun lived with Nellie and her family. And when Marge passed on to join her husband, Nellie decided to give the bird to people who would give him the attention he needed. And so he came to me.
My original plan was to find someone who would give him a good home. A few people came to mind. But Honey Bun had other plans. As soon as we put him in the cage with our three indoor cockatiels, he fell madly in love with all of them and would not step up to come back out of the cage. I think he forgot there were other birds just like him in the world.
We call him Bun Bun now because Mike and I call each other Honey and it could be confusing. He steps up for me now but flies away if he can’t get back into the cage. We will be clipping his wings soon, for safety and to keep him friendly.
Rehoming birds is a process dear to my heart. In fact, today I am going to pick up a group of lovebirds from a smart lady who knows she can no longer care for them properly. But I am not keeping them all. Just a pair or two. In this way, Bun Bun was a foster failure. Oh, well, he’s a nice addition to the flock. He sings beautifully and after the first night of happy chirping, he’s quiet when the house is dark.
Thanks for reading, I’ll be back next Sunday.