In Memory of Claudia


My little bird, Claudia, passed away today. She was a spunky, beautiful, loving parakeet filled with song and vivacity. When let out of her cage, she would swoop and dive bomb about our apartment, a little green hornet.

She had the softest tiny belly. She loved sitting on my shoulder, grooming me.

We got her to provide companionship for my white-fronted Amazon parrot, Vincent, whom I’ve had since I was a little kid in San Diego.

She loved Vinnie as much as we do, and would selflessly groom his forehead and sing to him. She would boss him about and eat the food out of his bowl.

Four years ago, we purchased Claudia from a Pet Co downtown and brought her back all the way home on the A train.

In the middle of the night in one of the first months after we’d gotten her, she somehow got herself skewered–literally–on a toy hanging up in her cage. She was hooked onto it like a fish, flapping around in pain and fear. We managed to disentangle her, and I poured hydrogen peroxide on her wound.

We were terrified over the course of that week that she would die, but she was resilient. She was a tough little one. My NY bird.

Because of this resiliency, when she began getting sick over the past month, we didn’t think much of it. I was worried, of course, but I assumed that she would pull through whatever was ailing her.

And she did seem to get better, for a while. But suddenly today, she took a drastic turn for the worse. She was having difficulty breathing, and eventually moved to the floor of her cage, hiding under her food bowl.

When a bird does that, you know things are bad. Birds are good at hiding when they are really sick.

She passed away before my eyes this evening. It was awful. There was nothing I could do to help her.

Whenever I tell people that I have birds as pets, they seem to think it’s weird. And I’m sure that it must seem silly to you to grieve over a parakeet. But birds are wonderful pets. They have vibrant, unique personalities and are filled with the joy of living.

My wife and I have been sobbing all night, and I’m not ashamed to say it. I loved that little bird. And I am going to miss her terribly.

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Author: manderson

I live in NYC.

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