I write a lot of blog posts in my head, but thus far I haven’t found a way of making them public without actually writing them. My goal is to update this blog once a week and I am happy with twice a month. But even that is hard for me. There is never a shortage of work during the day and right now I am also busy getting ready for our holiday boutique on November 26th, so sometimes it is hard to meet my goal of regular updates. While even for me Christmas and the boutique itself, which is a month before Christmas, seem very far away, it really isn’t if your focus is on completing work to sell. I hope to have a wide variety of food gifts, handmade soap, and handmade art for sale. But I will save that for another post.
If you have read this far, then you deserve an update on one of our new surrenders, Coconut the Budgie. Coconut, which in my opinion is pretty much the best bird name ever, came to us because her caretakers could not provide for her the life they felt she deserved. She was what I refer to as an accidental pet; that is, they found her outside. In this case she was fluttering around near a big box pet store. Being responsible people, they immediately brought her inside, thinking she belonged to the store and had escaped.. The staff refused to help them or claim the bird as theirs, so Coconut’s rescuers did the responsible thing and brought her home. Of course this was after purchasing a large amount of merchandise.
Because her new caretaker owned a daycare, she also had to test her for psittacosis. This should tell you about her level of commitment from the very beginning. Her little friend had already cost her at least a couple of hundred dollars between the vet visit and the supplies. And although the cage was only a standard cage that you see sold at big box stores, it was outfitted to the highest possible level. Every attempt was made to make Coconut as comfortable as possible. But the situation was further compounded by the fact that Coconut’s caretaker also does dog rescue. With a constant stream of foster dogs in her home, little Coconut could not be let out of the cage for her own safety. After caring for her for a year, they reached out to me, and I took her in. In another gesture of generosity, her caretaker paid our surrender fee, even though she was already tested for psittacosis.
Because she had not been out of her cage, her muscle tone was not good. Her first attempts at flying were awkward and she tired easily. I have seen this many times before, and I know it doesn’t take long for caged birds to remember what it is like to fly. In just a few short days she was easily navigating the flight area, and soon developed a line down her chest, which is indicative of well developed flight muscles. She was easily accepted by our other resident Budgies. She ate our food with enthusiasm and all in all seems happy in her new home with her new friends.
Of all the birds in the pet industry, I think I feel the saddest about all the Budgerigars that are casually sold as pets for children. In general children seldom have the ability to maintain interest or care for a bird, and also will soon lose interest in a pet that they can’t easily interact with, which is the case with small birds that are never given out of cage time. Of course I am generalizing here, some children take wonderful care of pets, but most do not without a lot of parental involvement. Just tonight, in fact, I had a bored parent who stopped in to the rescue, looking to kill a few minutes while she waited for her pizza to be ready next door. When I informed her that her young daughter could not wander around the shelter area with all the birds out, she snapped, “I thought you are open!” I said yes, we were, but I still could not allow her to take her child around as the birds could easily reach out and bite her daughter in the face. I said I could allow her to walk in a bit further and view the birds, but couldn’t allow her to get really close to them. “Nevermind!” she snarled. “We will just leave.” Nooo problem, I thought to myself. I am not offended in the least when someone storms out of the rescue without even acknowledging that parrots can bite and is offended when I don’t share their view that the birds are there for their amusement and entertainment. I mention this little incident only because I feel so often birds are purchased as pets for kids with little education on the part of the parent. Those birds often end up living miserable lonely lives in a cage and die young, or they are quickly rehomed in whatever way is most convenient when interest in their care wanes.
But what keeps me going are the birds like Coconut. I can’t even describe how my heart swells when I see a Budgie that has been cage bound learn to explore her environment. Even though Coconut was given the best possible environment in her particular home, I love that she now has free flight. What we offer is still a far cry from what she should be enjoying were she born free and wild as God intended, but I have to believe that she is glad to be where she is. Of course my heart aches for all the birds who never get to experience this. But at least for Coconut, she gets to feel a sense of freedom.