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» Monday, September 13, 2004Pidge Goes Walkabout: Grey Hairs Flourish
Pidge's cage has two doors. One is the regulation small door for budgie to hop in and out. The second opens about 3/4 of the front of the cage for easier cleaning by the human portion of the household. I had that big door open on Saturday afternoon.
For some reason, however stupid--and it was stupid--I forgot to latch it.
When we got home Saturday night after trivia, the big door was ajar and Pidge was gone.
To say this tossed me into frantic action is putting it mildly. I began calling and then screaming his name, grabbed a flashlight, and began searching under things for him. His feathers are still growing in, and although he can pretty much now fly the width of the room, he can't get any altitude. If he had hopped on the big door and it came open, or had he climbed out and played with one of the toys I bought him on Saturday afternoon and fallen off, he had no way of getting back up.
Things were bouncing off my head in rapid succession like spark plugs going off. What if...what if he'd gone toward the door where I'd sprayed for ants on Tuesday? The stuff is supposed to be harmless after it dries (except to insects), but he's so small and has a sensitive metabolism. Or if he went under the couch, where I'd also sprayed? What if he went under the door into the furnace closet? We don't turn the gas flame off in the summer. What if he went into the laundry room? Fluttered into the toilet?
What had me really frightened is that lately, when I come into a room, or come downstairs and he hears my voice, he's been chirping. I wasn't hearing any chirps. As the minutes ticked by, I started to be convinced that he was dead. If he wasn't, why wasn't he answering?
James stayed reasonably sensible. He went outside in case Pidge had fluttered out there when we came in the door, but he said, "He won't go into a dark room. You know he freezes up when the light is off. So he shouldn't have gone under any doors into dark places."
What if, by hopping and fluttering, he made it upstairs? Now I was really terrified. When I was a little girl, my playmate was a little green budgie we had named Pretty Boy. One day Pretty Boy and I were playing "chase" and he ran under the refrigerator and was electrocuted.
James said there wasn't room for a bird to run under our refrigerator.
I ran upstairs, cast a cursory flashlight around the floor of the library, then ran up the stairs. Opening the door to James' room, I thought I heard a chirp. I called and called again, and didn't hear it. I then searched the spare room and our bedroom, although both doors were closed. As I came back into the hall, half in tears, I thought I heard a small chirp. And another. I yelled down the stairs for James, but he couldn't hear me.
Then I came back down the stairs, looked across the library instead of down.
Pidge, looking very confused and fluffed up, was blinking at me from the top of the loveseat, where he was sitting under the lighted lamp.
He was quiet for the rest of the night, but thank God at the moment seems none the worse for wear. I did wash him off with water before I put him back in his cage--he was, to excuse the expression, madder than a wet hen--and was quite relieved to see him gobble up seed and millet.
All we can figure out is that he somehow got on the floor, couldn't find anyone, maybe went upstairs to find Willow. The gate that keeps her from coming downstairs has a gap in the bottom he could have ducked under. But it was dark in the kitchen except for Wil's "night light," and he probably headed for the brighter light of the library, going through or around the baby gate that was just leaned at the entrance. The loveseat has a "skirt," so it would have been very easy for him to climb up to the top and chew on the red throw and those lovely, delectable lace curtains.
Me, I was a wreck for the rest of the night and not feeling good on Sunday, despite the long tramp through the Yellow Daisy Festival. But as long as he's safe, I don't care...