Read part one here.
I grew up with birds in the house.
Actually, that sentence is probably an understatement.
I grew up with budgies, finches, cockatiels, conures, African Greys, macaws, and a lovebird all making their marks on my childhood/pre-teen/teen years, thanks to my mother who dearly loves, and has seemingly always had a passion for, birds. I grew up attending bird club meetings and going to bird shows. My parents and I all had similar bird club jackets (it was the 90s. Don’t judge me). One of my cooler birthday memories is of attending the Midwest Avian Research Expo. I knew who Dr. Irene Pepperberg and Alex were by the age of 8, and I’m pretty sure none of my friends left our house without hearing just how intelligent and amazing parrots actually are.
Parrots were to my family what horses are to others, a lifestyle.
So it probably isn’t much of a surprise that after we had had our first budgie, Giacomo, for a couple of months, I started to hanker for a bird that could poop gallons a day and rearrange my face if it really wanted to. Mr. Awesome was not terribly enthused by my not-so-subtle growing desire, as he is rather opposed to tidal waves of excrement and being mauled. Weird.
But then we lost Giacomo, and I regretted the time I spent wishing for another bird, time I could have spent just enjoying him. You truly don’t know what you have until you lose it.
In the weeks that followed, Mr. Awesome and I dithered on just what species would replace Giacomo, as we desperately wanted to fill the hole he had left behind. After researching other species and looking around, we came to the conclusion that we were, in fact, budgie people after all, and would get two budgies instead of one, since with Giacomo it became clear he would have greatly benefited from the company of another budgie. Had he lived, I am fairly certain we would have eventually procured a friend for him.
Enter Tuck and Robin. Mr. Awesome rejoiced that the floods of poo, though increased by having two birds, still remained relatively mild.
Then, like a couple who have settled into a functional, comfortable routine with their two children start lightly tossing around the idea of baby #3, we flirted with the idea of another bird. This prospect waxed and waned. One of us would have a dream about having tons of budgies and we’d want another bird. Then we’d have one of those lovely evenings where the budgies were so very adorable as my husband slayed virtual villains, and the thought of changing things up with a third bird seemed ridiculous. I mean, really, why mess with a good thing?
And then Willow happened.
Through familial connections I’d been aware that a certain African Grey might be in need of a new home in the near future. When Mr. Awesome and I saw her, she was underweight, lonely, in need of a much better diet, and had plucked a good portion of her chest and neck area. Somewhere between ten and fifteen years old, Willow had been hand fed as a baby and sexed female.
The first serious conversation Mr. Awesome and I had about taking Willow pretty much ended in the decision not to. Where would we put her? What about the costs involved? Would we have the time? What about the budgies? Was this a responsibility we should take on right now? What if Willow decided she wanted Mr. Awesome and not me and he was at work all day? What if she did prefer me and became combative with Mr. Awesome? Just how much fecal matter would it bring into our lives? They were serious matters that needed addressing.
But the next day when I saw Willow again, my heart broke at the thought of not giving her a good home, and I prayed for God to give us guidance, to let us know if this was something we should do or not. I didn’t want to take her unless we could reasonably say that we would be her last home. The subject was tabled for a few weeks as we waited to see what Willow’s family decided to do, and we mulled over whether or not we could accommodate her in our home.
The answer turned out to be yes, and though there have been problems to solve and challenges to overcome, a lot of learning to be done and patience used, she is fitting into our home beautifully. We’ve had her just over two months now, and I can’t imagine life without her. I praise God for bringing her into our home, and pray that we will have her for many decades to come.
And as for Mr. Awesome’s fears of swimming in feces, I will point out that Willow is well on her way to being
potty cage trained, and in two months we’ve only had a handful of “accidents”. That and my cleaning regime has increased significantly, but that is a subject for another post.
…to be continued…