Sometime in mid 2007 my uncle gave me a very young and small blue parakeet. Most of his beak was still black but he was old enough to be in his own cage and eat on his own. They also gave me a cage with a mirror that was shaped like a flower which he always stood next to. What I remember most was how small he looked in his cage and how soft his chirps were at first. A little ball of blue feathers with two skinny pink legs. After a few days I named him Chuckie.
Chuckie quickly grew very close to our family. He was hand-fed by my nephews and it took barely any effort to get him to perch on my finger or shoulder. As he grew older he would nibble your ear while making soft chirping noises. He would always put his left foot on your finger tip if you offered it to him and I told people that was his way of "shaking hands". He didn't like having his belly rubbed but he would let you pet his head and touch his nose.
He loved almonds. He recognized the sound of a box of almonds rattling and would get really excited: chirping, bobbing his head, and dancing back-and-forth on his perch. He didn't actually eat them but just loved to break it apart. He still loved his flower mirror, as well as a shiny toy disco ball with a small bell attached to it.
After a while I stopped clipping his wings and let him fly around the house. I taught him to fly to me, sort of. I could try to get his attention but it was always up to him. Most of the time he would fly to me if he wanted to play or if he saw I was eating and wanted to be fed.
About a month ago I noticed a large lump growing between his legs and vent. He also seemed to breath a little faster and heavier than normal. I took him to a vet and she diagnosed it as "lipoma", which is a fatty tumor. I was relieved when I learned it meant he was just overweight and needed to go on a diet but that relief did not last long. I tried to reduce the bird seed and feed him more vegetables but a week later I noticed he was 5 grams heavier. Then last Thursday morning after work I came home and found him on the cage floor.
I immediately took him to the vet again but he was so weak he could not even handle the trip to the vet. Just as the vet was about to examine him he went into a seizure. The doctors there tried to help him but he was dying. On Thursday 7/26 at about 9:30 am, my friend Chuckie passed away.
I never really thought of Chuckie as a pet but more like a family member or close friend. I've owned pet birds before but I never had one that would fly to me, make the same distinct chirp every time I walked into the room as if to say 'hi', or wait eagerly on the perch next to the cage door to be played with all the time. I constantly think about how he died and how I should have taken better care of him when it came to his diet. But I also know that for his short life, up until the last few days, he was extremely happy.
I buried him with his two favorite toys; his shiny disco ball with the bell and his flower mirror he grew up with. I placed an almond on his grave and plan to do so regularly.
So very sorry for your loss. I know how hard it is to lose a pet, and yes they certainly do become family members not just mere pets. By the sound of things your Chuckie led a very happy life and was well loved and cared for. You did all you could for him.
It's hard to tell from the pic you have there, but by any chance was his cere turning form blue to brown? If so, that is a sign of testicular cancer, which is very common in budgies. Perhaps that is what it was, not a fatty tumor?
Loved the memorial video, and Chuckie's story. What a great way to pay tribute to his life.
what a way to remember your friend with that video and i luvvvvv how you had him trained to come to you at command ...a very important thing to train for and not easy to do.
as far as foods go...please read this thread as im sure you will find another bird to worm its way into your heart...and this will help you to make better decisions about foods to feed...what we dont know about we cant fix...so this should help...
Thank you all very much for your kind words and support. I feel that many people wouldn't understand how close a pet bird can be to someone (as opposed to a dog or cat, for example) so I'm careful who I talk about this with. But Chuckie was my close friend.
@kksuns: That picture on the bottom was taken a few months ago. He seemed to have more of that brown color on his cere in that pic than at the time of his passing IIRC, if there was any more brown at all. After I mentioned to the vet that he had actually gained weight even after my attempts to put him on a diet, she mentioned some hereditary kidney disease or cancer that may have been the cause as well. She offered to do an autopsy but I just couldn't.
@illusive Fantasy: Thank you very much for that info. I read through just some of it and already have a good idea of what I need to do. The other bird in my avatar is Cheeky, which was Chuckie's mate (Cheeky is on the left). I still remember how happy Chuckie was when I first brought her home. He would absolutely want me to take really good care of her.