Memory Like an Elephant

When the Older Daughter was probably 5 years old, we were in a pet store one weekend. I was checking out the birds and thought that cockatiels were just the coolest. Actually, I liked some of the other birds better–you know those that can talk a little bit. But those were out of our price range. Cockatiels were affordable, yet still had loving personalities. I did a little research, read a book, etc. A few weeks later, we picked one up.

Things were going well initially. She would sing beautifully for us. We put her up on our shoulders and should would nuzzle our necks and “talk” to us. However, the good times didn’t last long enough–at least from my standpoint. We gave her lots of attention and let her out of the cage a lot when we were home. However, if she didn’t have constant attention (basically being on a shoulder or hand) she would screech. We are talking a loud, high pitched screech that made the loudest baby cry/scream sound like a cooing dove. I couldn’t take it. The constant screeching irritated the heck out of me. And then there was the pooping on the shoulder all the time. I reached a breaking point.

So The Wife asked around and finally found someone willing to take the bird off our hands. End of story, right? Not really. Somehow this whole thing came up in conversation recently, and it seems the Older Daughter still vividly remembers this and is still bitter about it. Apparently she was a lot more attached to the bird and a lot more broken up about giving it up than she let on at the time.

Not to mention what a heartless beast I am. Yes, this is the Miracle Bird a wrote about a few days ago. The poor thing survived 3 cold Idaho night outside, only to be sent packing her bags not too long after that.

The Miracle Bird

When the kids were much younger, we had a cockatiel named Jasmine. The bird was in its cage at night or when we were gone. However, when we were home, we often let have the freedom to fly around the house. One day, I needed to head to the store to pick up something. I quickly opened and shut the front door as I went out, so as not to let the bird out. The only problem was, I had forgotten to say goodbye to the kids. As I was getting into the car, one of the girls opened the front door to run out and say goodbye. I watched in horror as the bird flew out the door and out of sight.

The Wife and I comforted two devastated kids and assured them we would do everything we could to find her. We drove around for quite some time, but had no luck. As a last ditch effort to assure the kids we had done everything, we placed an ad in the newspaper. Now The Wife and I knew there was no way the bird could survive even a single night outside. The cockatiel is native to Australia, which is slighly warmer than Idaho in February (the temperatures were in the twenties and thirties as I recall).

To our complete shock, we received a call 3 days later. It seems that this lady walked out onto her front porch and saw something completely out of place–a cockatiel perched up on the light. Somehow she was able to coax it down onto her shoulder. She then checked out the newspaper–and sure enough found our ad.

Jasmine certainly must have been lonely, cold, and scared for those 3 long days. But how fascinating would it have been to have a little camera attached to her to see exactly where she went and what she did? It would go a long ways toward answering the question: How did this miracle bird manage to survive 3 days outside during a frigid Idaho winter?