June 28th, 2011


parakeet history

I was walking with marc and told him about Crackers I, my first parakeet, and I figured I'd write the story down here for posterity's sake. Actually, the story of all the parakeets... but it starts with Crackers I. I feel like I've written the story here before but I can't find it. I also felt like I'd told Marc the story before, but he said I hadn't. I'm not sure what's weirder... finding out there's a childhood story you haven't put in your livejournal after ten years, or finding out there's a childhood story you haven't told the man you've been with in six years. I keep thinking surely marc knows all my stories.

Anyway, I was five or six and remember going to the mall, and bird cages were on sale. Mom had had parakeets when she was a girl, she'd had one named Cookie. So she bought us a bird. Crackers!

We brought Crackers home and everything was good until the next morning. Crackers hadn't made it. He was on the bottom of the cage. Mom wasn't awake yet, I found him, I went to her room and said "Mom Crackers died!" She said, "He's asleep honey," and rolled over.

Anyway I was right, Crackers wasn't sleeping. Mom didn't want to return the whole cage to the pet store, just the bird, so she was there when the store opened, angry, with Crackers in a McDonald's happy meal box.

That day we brought home Crackers II! And he was a good bird, he lived for a long time, like eight or ten years. He got fat when he was old and couldn't fly but he'd just hang out on your finger. He was relaxed.

We got him a friend: Cookie. They got along great. Cookie was a female, we knew because she'd lay eggs sometimes, but the vet said parakeets don't normally breed in captivity unless you do all this nesting stuff so we weren't concerned.

When I was 13 or so, Crackers died. We were very sad.

We got Cupcake, a little blue parakeet, to keep Cookie company. Cookie and Cupcake did not get along.

When I was 15, One of Cookie's eggs hatched. That was weird. There was this tiny squeeky alien on the cage floor. The vet said it'd die. After a week, it hadn't died, so we got our hopes up and named it Agamemnon after the Greek warrior. The name worked. Agamemnon made it, albeit with a splayed leg problem from not being born in a nest with a stable place to put your feet. Agamemnon was my bird, born in my room, I loved her more than anything. I'd cup my hand near the ground and she'd crawl under there and go to sleep.

Cupcake came to an unfortunate end. Too much chasing Cookie around, I guess. She killed him. It was pretty bad. There was a lot of blood. She really did not like Cupcake.

Cookie died years later, when I was in college. We missed her a lot. Another bird buried in the back yard. She'd been sweet, and very smart.

We got a yellow bird we named Naboo, after Star Wars Episode I. It was a good name and we were hopeful but Naboo was sort of annoying. When I moved to Wichita, I took Naboo and Agamemnon with me but after a year or so I got sick of Naboo being so mean to Aggy. I let them fly around my apartment but Aggy was getting older, and weaker. I loved my Aggy so much and hated seeing her getting pushed off perches and generally tortured, so I put an ad out to rehome Naboo and a family came and took him.

Aggy and I were happy for a long time. I was single and loved having my own space. I'd come home from work and let her out, she'd hang out on the couch with me and share lettuce. Her legs got worse. I took her to a vet, but he said there wasn't much we could do for a parakeet. I set up her cage with soft bedding, gave her lots of fresh fruit, and we talked a lot. I remember once I lost my voice to laryngitis, and it made me realize how much I talked to the parakeet!

One morning I was headed off to work and Aggy was laying down at the bottom of the cage. I nudged her, he moved his head over and nibbled my finger and stood up. I said, "There's my bird!" Then I left. She was dead when I got him, late that night after working a full day and volunteering on a political campaign. That was March 25, 2005, and even though lots of birds came and went aggy was the one that really stuck with me and I still think about fondly sometimes. I think it's because she transitioned with me to Wichita, and we had that apartment, she was like my roommate when I was determined to be alone.

Anyway that was way more than I was going to write about the parakeets! Marc has had parakeets before too, sometimes we look at them at the petstore... Josie loves to look at them through the glass. Although now I've learned from the guinea pigs that every species of animal has a rescue of some sort, no reason to be buying anything from a petstore! It's also nice to look back on all this and think about how long we kept all these other healthy birds, despite that first one not doing so well.