I’ve always loved birds. When I was a kid I had budgies. Of course I didn’t really know how to take care of them and they lived, but I didn’t love them. Until high school. My dad bought me a blue and white budgie for Christmas and it was love at first sight.
There is something so mystical about having a wee bird love you. There’s no reason why they should, really. We are huge and wont to tread on them, we keep them in cages when they should fly, we feed them stale seeds and fluoridated chlorined water.
Their tiny little hearts beat so fast. The feeling of cuddling with a bird is unimaginably precious.
My budgie and I hung out all through my senior high school days and I loved him. We had a sudden move across the country and I had to find him a new home. It broke my heart.
But nothing approached the love I had for wee Dora, my parrotlet. I got her from a breeder and she was hand raised. I’d done my research and was an adult now, with adult capability to look after her. She came to my home and stomped across the floor and into my heart. She hung out on my desk when I wrote, she ate all the plastic buttons on my remotes. She shared my sandwiches. She travelled with me to a cottage and yelled at hummingbirds.
Meanwhile I was learning how to cope with Multiple Sclerosis, newly diagnosed. She cheered me, made me laugh when I was feeling low, cuddled with me and teased my hair.
She started plucking, for some reason. I couldn’t figure it out. I played with her more, I cooked up special warm breakfasts and fed her kiwi by the ton. I shopped for the freshest fruit, I fretted, I asked people about it, I talked to the vet. She plucked on.
I researched parrotlet behaviour. Maybe she was lonely? I got her a roommate, Flora. She hated her on sight. I thought, she used to hang out with a budgie, maybe that would help her. Nope. Maybe she was hankering after a partner? I flew to Ottawa to adopt a wee male fellow who she terrorized. He didn’t pluck, but my poor wee Dora did.
She had a parrot-sized cage, filled with toys and tasty treats. She acted healthy, played and cuddled with me (but not her partner). She simply pulled out her feathers. I tried tiny sweaters on her but they all weighed more than she did. I bathed her in soothing solutions.
At the same time, I was having a terrible time with my MS. I couldn’t handle trying to keep the two birds (I’d rehomed the budgie and returned her girl roomie to the breeder). I was beside myself, desperate and so sad for my girl. I reached out and found her a home with It’s a Bird’s Life Aviary, together with her handsome “boyfriend”. I’m so glad for her that I did – she is I think happy there, and I know her care is excellent.
But I miss her, and her tiny fierce heart. Every every day.
I live with a cat now, a furry gentleman who provides warmth and lashings of fur. I love him. He’s my dear buddy and he’s a gentle old gent with a purr that melts me.
But there was something really special about that Dora. It is a true gift to be loved by a bird.