Hydra and I discussed it at some length and decided that since it’s not really practical for us to have four budgies, and since Henry is actually a female who would probably cause our happy flock of bachelors to fight amongst themselves, it would be best if she spent her two weeks of quarantine somewhere more constructive than all alone in my studio. ( Birds can pick up illnesses that they can pass between themselves that don’t do anything to humans.) Also, she seems very unaccustomed to humans for a bird who’s clearly more than a year old… you can tell by how brown her cere–the fleshy area around the nostrils–is.
So yesterday I called our favorite pet shop, Bird Bungalow for help, because I remembered that when we were looking for Chuck, they let us know that they sometimes helped place rescued birds or those whose owners had to give them up.
Henry spent today in my office and we found out that she likes Chet Baker, Ella Fitzgerald and certain songs by She & Him. At Bird Bungalow, I proposed that we sponsor Henry by offering to give whoever adopts her a $25 gift certificate to the store. The owner was so nice. She said, “Oh no, you don’t need to do that! We do this all the time.”
She had quite a time trying to get Henry out of her cage with a washcloth. Henry got away from her and fluttered across the shop to hide on a shelf stacked with bags of feed. It took the The Bird Lady a few minutes to capture. I say this to impress upon you what a great job Gala did moving Henry from the horse barn to the brown paper bag a few days ago!
The Bird Lady and I took a closer look at Henry and realized what a fortunate girl she really is. Her left wing had been clipped (trimmed) in an old fashioned way. Most places don’t clip just one wing anymore because it unbalances the bird. The bird can break one of the long blood feathers on the other side because it has too much pressure on it. When The Bird Lady stretched Henry’s clipped wing out, we saw that a couple of her blood feathers had been broken…she was lucky that she didn’t bleed out!
The Bird Lady trimmed the other wing to get her evened up. Given that Henry doesn’t have a breeder’s band–a little identifying band around the leg–and is so unaccustomed to being handled, The Bird Lady thinks that Henry escaped from a breeder. There was also something about the coloring of her cere that indicated that she’d probably been with other birds in a breeding situation.
Henry’s coloring is unusual for a full grown female. “Females usually turn kind of creamy by this age.” The Bird Lady has a white male in the shop right now, and tonight Henry’s cage is next to his. If they’re interested in each other, they will probably end up together after Henry’s quarantine.
Even if Henry doesn’t end up being a companion bird, she’s going to be in a situation where she’ll be able to mate for life, and one where they’d notice if she went missing.
Much to my surprise, The Bird Lady actually gave me this gift to bring home to our flock! Foa, this is a truly lush, prime example of the spray millet you read about. (And this is what the millet humans eat looks like before it’s separated and hulled.)
While I was there, I was able to hold a little baby Congo African Grey for a few minutes. Aw, it was making a big baby bird sound that took me back to Dodger’s fledglinghood. Ibought a toy for Dodger and ordered a new rope covered perch for Chuck. The Bird Bungalow people are really great. We have boarded Dodger there, so you know we trust them.
Three cheers to Foa and Gala for their heroic and successful rescue mission!