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» Monday, July 19, 2004Tale of the Bird
I deliberately waited a while after Bandit died to think about getting another bird. Some of this was partially for the bird’s sake; I didn’t want to try to make a new bird with a different personality into an image of the other. I also needed time to mourn–I’d nursed Bandit through what the vet told me would be a terminal illness for nearly two years and he’d become more like a baby than a bird. I’d made the mistake of getting Pip only five days after Sylvester died because my mother was leaving soon and I didn’t want to be alone, and I think that was a mistake.
So it was only in the last couple of months I had been really looking. There’d been a likely-looking bird at the flea market who nibbled fearlessly on my fingers some weeks back and another little blue guy that we’d seen the week before at Town Center Mall chasing a cockatiel around the enclosure. I almost went back for the latter, but I’d spent a lot of money last week and since I had to buy everything from the ground up (the old cage was broken and I wouldn’t reuse the toys) I didn’t feel I could afford it. The cage we had pegged at Petsmart was nearly fifty dollars.
Anyway, one of Tim Vogle’s bird fairs was scheduled for the North Atlanta Trade Center over the weekend, so we went. (I’m always amused by this guy’s name. I wonder if it was originally “Vogel,” because that would be really funny: “Vogel” means “bird” in German.) We entered to a cacophony of bird whistles, shrieks, and squawks. You can hear sun conures down the street. :-) Did an entire circuit of the room–there were also a lot of dogs there! Some guy had a Great Pyrenees and a chow, another couple had two Jack Russells, there were three Papillions, and also a beautiful Pomeranian with a silky soft coat. (James remarked later about Willow: “What we got was a terrier with the markings of a Pom,” which is true. Her coat is terrier rough but she has a similar brown color with white markings.)
Several vendors had budgies and one even had English budgies, which I had toyed with buying. Bandit had been a halfbreed, English and American. In fact, the fellow who had the English told us many people were crossing them, male English and female American, because the American hen is a better mother. I liked having the bigger bird and I think they may be a bit smarter because their brains are a bit larger. But I was looking for someone with personality, too.
One fellow with only a few cages–James said he was from Augusta, GA–had his baby budgies in a low cage on the table. When I came over to look at them, they didn’t flap, but they all retreated except one little yellow-faced sorta-chartreuse guy with pale stripes who just regarded my finger curiously. I made a move to scratch his neck and he started to fluff for me, then thought better of it.
When we came around the second time, the little guy was still in front, still looking curious. I crouched down to talk to him again and he just blinked at me and didn’t retreat.
My fatal mistake was saying “Yes,” when the fellow said, “You want to hold him?”
He was quite a squirmer and got away from me once, but a lady standing next to me caught him. I took one look at that disarming little face with the big dark eyes and how could I say no? Baby budgies have "cute" written all over them.
We wandered about the bird fair in the next few minutes buying him essentials–food, a swing, a few toys, and of course a cage. We got him a big cage, same quality or even better than Petsmart, and, as opposed to the nearly $50 price tag there, this cage was only $15. With the purchase of the bird, we actually only spent $30. Stopped at Petsmart on the way home and got a few things we didn’t see at the show; I wanted natural perches, but they didn’t have them at the Heritage Pointe store. If I want ‘em, I’m going to have to go up to Town Center, which has more stuff.
After the poor guy recovered from the shock of being stuck in a dark box, you could hear him pattering around and biting at the cardboard, trying to get out. We set up his cage then put him in it, and he sat on the perch with his eyes wide as if thinking “this is all mine?”
On the way home we’d discussed his name. I confessed that I’d half been looking for a personable grey one, so I could name him Pigwidgeon after Ron Weasley’s minute grey owl in Prisoner of Azkaban and onward, since Pig has all the personality of a budgie. James asked, “Why does he have to be grey?” Well, why is right? But I never did like “Pig” for a nickname, so he is “Pidge” instead.
He’s doing pretty well, I think. He’s not a flapper, although he jumped around the cage some last night, trying to find a way out. I can already get him to sit on my finger, so I assume even if he wasn’t hand-raised he has been used to humans and being handled some. Usually new birds sit in their cage and look shellshocked; he’s warbled a few times, preened, relaxed and looked sleepy even when we talk to him face to face, and eaten the millet I put in there (I’m going to have to pull it or he won’t eat the seed at all). The breeder said he’d also given the birds carrot and a couple of other vegetables; next time James chops carrot up for our supper I’ll try a bit on Pidge as well.
Willow took one look at the birdcage and then the bird and went into Camille mode. She missed Bandit for about a week and then realized she was an “only child.” She’s enjoyed being the center of attention and is loathe to give up her special status. She isn’t angry; she just looks grieved and clings to James as if to say “You still love me, don’t you?” I’ve never seen a dog so lavished with affection and still so insecure!
When Pidge is a little more secure with us, I’ll make him a vet’s appointment and get him checked out. Meanwhile, he’s home watching the History Channel. (Thought of leaving music on, but we want him to get more used to voices.)