Some time ago Vince and I had a discussion and agreed “no more birds”. Vince was approaching 60 and I was nearing 50. Since larger parrots live for 80 years and even some of the smaller parrots live 30 years, cockatiels are 18-25 years (up to 30 as Vince & I both know). Frankly, at our ages the parrots could outlive us. We believe in a forever home. We recognize the commitment it takes.
But, as we all know, things happen. In 2016 the founder of a parrot refuge here on the island died with absolutely no succession plan in place. 584 parrots were rescued from deplorable conditions (see story here: http://greyhavenbirds.com/world-parrot-refuge/). Cockatiels were part of that rescue. I turned to Vince and said, “We have space and capacity. We need to help.” Given our conversation not all that long before the WPR demise, I had a bit of convincing to do. In the end, we brought home two cockatiels, both male – Smokey and Piper.
While we didn’t know their ages (a combination of poor record keeping and not stopping breeding from happening at the refuge), but we could guess that they were young based on: no scruff or wear on the beaks; smooth feet (older birds are more irregular and bumpy); curiosity and energy.
On Monday, dear Smokey died. We were shocked. Smokey had never exhibited any signs of illness: fluffing up a lot; sleeping a lot; discharge from nostrils; a cough; sneezing. Our hearts are broken.
Piper had me nearly in tears before I went to bed. He went around and around the cage as if looking for Smokey. And on Tuesday and Wednesday he was very noisy. Today he has settled down some. He has, however, found his voice (Smokey used to shut him up). Piper has both Vince and I on high alert. We both slept very poorly on Monday night. Vince said he checked on Piper three times during the night; I laughed and told Vince I checked on Piper twice.