Thursday, May 08, 2008

Speaking of Birds ...

Just yesterday, I said that I had only ever see robins hurtle themselves repeatedly into windows, and I stand by that statement. However, putting it in print like that reminded me of another bird that flew into a window and into our lives.

I was sitting in our family room maybe fifteen years ago when I seemed to partly hear and partly glimpse a tiny thud into our patio doors. I know that you can't actually see a thud, but something registered in my vision and about the time I heard some sort of splat against the glass. In a few seconds it dawned on me that it must have been a bird, and I lumbered out back to check on it. And it was indeed a tiny bird who seemed relatively unafraid of me, for he stayed near when the other birds (who had been trying to pick on the poor exotic creature) vamoosed.

When I described the incident and the bird to my colleague, Dave, the next day, he identified it as a zebra finch. He went on to tell me that it was a pet bird, a bird normally kept indoors in a cage. As it turned out, he was quite correct in that but most incorrect when he also informed me that these birds have a beautiful song. You see, led by Cuppa we captured the bird that day and kept him for three years, but in order to prevent the narrative from getting too long, I'll forego describing the capture for now.

We called him Beaker because zebra finches have a colourful and distinct beak. We later also called him Beeper because that was the only sound he ever made. If zebra finches can sing beautiful melodies as Dave claimed, we sure didn't hear any in the three years that he lived with us. All we heard was a lot of beeping.

The beeping didn't just come from Beaker but also Squeaker, the avian friend that we soon purchased for The Beaks. They were cute birds. We called them the Beepin Buddies and/or Brothers of the Beak and/or Friends of the Feather.

Squeaker died after about two years with us, and shortly thereafter we discovered that Beaker was a girl because we found an egg in the cage. Imagine that! After two years together, a bird near death impregnated his friend. They say that people's evolutionary impetus around death (the death of others, of course — I assume) is to have sex (ie death is at hand, make babies), and maybe it is so with birds as well.

Regardless of whether that is so or not, Beaker stayed with us for another year after Squeaker's departure, but we took her to my mothers' for her to mind once when we were away. Mom put the cage outside on a fine summer day, and when she came out, the cage had been tipped over and Beaker was hopping around. Mom lunged for Beaker who flew off in startled fear, and we never saw her again.

No doubt that's how we found Beaker in the first place, or rather how she found us. She left her previous house as a result of a similar accident, stayed with us for three years, and then was lost.
I felt badly, for this little bird was ill equipped for life in the wild, and I really doubt that she would have been lucky enough to be rescued again. I hope that she had three good years with us and that it wasn't too hard for her in the end.

I still feel bad when I think upon it. She was a cute little being who deserved better.

10 comments:

Amanda said...

A really nice story, but i had a tear in my eye at the end. I love animals. You gave Beaker a happy life.

Ginnie said...

I feel sure that your little bird had a happy ending.
Also, thanks for mentioning Pam on your other entry. She is truly an inspiration and I feel so honored to be part of her life for so long. (and, yours too !)

Donna said...

What a sweet story!!!hughugs

daffy said...

I enjoyed reading this....
The baby Jays fly into our conservatory every year at least twice each before the realise they can't fly through! No serious injuries yet....

JunieRose2005 said...

AC,
That was a good story- and you did good by the little bird! You gave her 3 good years!

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

In the spirit of New Hampshire, "Live Free or Die".

Think of it this way, Three good years with you is a lifetime!

pepektheassassin said...

Growing up I had a few sparrows I found as babies--they became very tame and fun (and smart) friends. A few years ago, a nest in a tree in a deer enclosure fell down and those baby birds terrified the deer, who en masse, ran and stomped on most of them. My friend climbed over the fence and rescued one that remained alive, and we had him for 20 years! (I think he was a Baltimore oriole). He ate crushed up dog food, along with whatever we had for breakfast, lunch or dinner--he loved ice cream and grapes.... He didn't sing. He was raised with a parakeet, and I think he spoke parakeet.

pepektheassassin said...

PS The deer pen was at the zoo, which I forgot to mention.

Pam said...

The back wall of our bedroom has two, high, long windows facing the back bank. Last year we had a bird (I don't recall the species, senior moments, you know) that, for over a month, came and sat on the outside ledge of the first window and tapped on the glass, two or three times a day. We never did figure out the motivation, but were intrigued and disappointed when it left.

Coll said...

Bless your kind hearts for giving Beaker a home for as long as you did.