Irving turned out to be a girl, but we kept the name. it suited her somehow.
Two days after we took her home she got her foot caught in a thread on my clothes, and in her panic to free herself she injured her foot. She couldn't walk on it very well, but still insisted on walking around and climbing her cage, using a wing, one foot, and her beak. A few days later, when we had been out for the day, we came home to find she had hurt her tail, probably from falling while trying to climb her cage. Now she couldn't balance either. I felt so guilty. I had taken her when she could have gone home with Lori, and now I had certainly doomed her to death. We took her to the vet, who recommended we put her down. "You have to consider quality of life over quantity.", he said. He said it was very doubtful she could repair her nerve damage. His proof that she was beyond help, was that she walked toward him no matter which way he kept turning the towel he stood her on. (She wanted to walk to him!), and that she snuggled in my hands. "I don't know of any bird, handraised or not, that will let you hold it." Well then you don't know much. Irving was still a baby, and loved to fall asleep snuggled in my lap in my bed. Even when she grew up, she would still consent to be held occasionally, and would lean against my face when asked to "Give me a snuggle".
And grow up she did. The vet said the only chance Irving had depended on how much time we were willing to spend on her. She had to have a fish tank so she couldn't climb,and we had to spend as much time holding her as we would. So we got a tank, and when I got up in the morning I went to her tank and put my hand in the bottom. As fast as she could she would drag herself over and climb into my hand. We all took turns holding her all day long. Ken works evenings, so all day he and I would take turns holding Irving. There was no other way she could groom herself because she couldn't balance, and it kept her weight off her foot and tail. When the kids got home from school, they took their turns holding her. In two or three weeks Irving was back to normal.
Irving had more personality than any bird I have ever seen. She also showed so much love.
|Irving was hard to photograph because she was fascinated with the camera.(Like most female parakeets, she wasn't much of a talker,but she learned to copy the sound of the camera shutter,along with the microwave beep, and the dining room door squeak.)|
|Trying to photograph her outside her cage usually resulted in this.|
|She was not usually a shoulder sitter. She preferred heads, in this case, Emma's.|
She would use my hair like a tether rope and slide down by it to nibble at my face.
|Although she did sit on shoulders so she could indulge in another interest...|
...For some reason she also liked to look in mouths.
She had to be a part of everything, and was very curious.
|Irving helping to make a phone call in Ken's messy computer room.|
One day, when Irving was about 9 months old, I had spent the morning working around the house with her on my head. It was so normal for us I didn't even think about it after a while. I found a lady bug and went to throw it out the back door--forgetting Irving was on my head. Of course, she flew out the door, and continued down the street and around the corner. It was November, and there was a freezing cold rain falling. I ran after Irving, but she was nowhere to be seen. I stood in the street and screamed to the family for help. Ivy was in school, but Emma was home from college and Fuzz was doing computer school and only went in for German class in the afternoon. Ken was home too, since it was 10:45 AM. They all ran out. Fuzz went all the way to the corner, barefoot and in pajamas trying to see her. Ken told me she was gone and there was nothing I could do, so I should come in. But I couldn't leave her out in the cold, She probably wouldn't survive. And she was so friendly, she would land on our dog's head. She would certainly be eaten by something. I was so upset I tried to tweet to her and couldn't get it out. Ken told me to calm down and tweet to her. I grabbed my coat and started down the street tweeting. When I got to the corner I heard her tweet back, but from waaaaaaay down the street. But I kept tweeting and in a second I heard her very close. She had come back.
I found her on the roof of a house on the next corner and across the street. I couldn't see her, but we tweeted back and forth for a while. Fuzz had put on shoes and a coat at my insistence, and was out looking too. Emma had gotten dressed and came to the house where we were. It's a good thing no one was home because we stood outside their house tweeting and calling, "Irving!" Emma brought Irving's cage over in case we could coerce her back into it. But Irving stopped tweeting back. I wasn't sure if she had flown away or decided to do what she did at home after a bath: take a nap until she dried off, and no tweets until she woke back up.
Fuzz thought he saw her fly around the back of the house, but he wasn't sure. We decided he would head down an alley on the other side of the side street, and I would take the alley behind the house where she had been. I started down the alley tweeting, and there she was,on a bush behind the house. She flew from bush to tree, to tree, to tree, until eventually she was 2 more house down.
The whole family spent the day trying to get Irving to come down. But it rained all day. It was freezing cold. A group of sparrows were in a bush under the edge of a shed, but Irving was in a bare tree in the cold rain. I tweeted to her on and off all day so she wouldn't forget I was there. Eventually we realized Fuzz was late for German, and Emma ran him to school, still in his pajamas and boots. She came back with a net, but that didn't work either. I had to explain to the lady whose tree Irving ended up in, why we were all behind her house, with two vehicles, (Emma's and ours.),and a 16 foot ladder up her tree. Irving had parked in their tree and decided to take her nap until she dried off.
The vehicles were to survive the cold, because it was COLD. I soaked two coats and a large tablecloth standing in the rain. Ivy had been picked up from school in the afternoon and joined the vigil. It got late. Ken had to be at work by 5, so he had to go home to get ready for work. Emma had to go to the bathroom. Fuzz had already gone home when he got mad because I wouldn't let him break his neck climbing a wet tree to try to catch Irving. Eventually,it was just me and Ivy, but Emma left the truck so we could stay warm. It was beginning to get dark.
The rain stopped, and Irving began to tweet back, and shake the rain off her feathers. Pretty soon she would be dry and fly away forever. I decided to try again to climb the ladder up the tree and try to get her to come to me. I got to the top of the ladder and tweeted. She tweeted back. Then she flew. I thought."This is it. She's gone." But she only flew in an arc, and landed on my shoulder. I got her on my hand and she gave me a kiss, and flew onto my head. It was literally a blur after that, as I was crying so hard I could hardly see. I talked to her all the way down the ladder, although I'm not sure how I got down.I had been straddling a huge puddle in front of the door of the truck, getting in and out for the last few hours, but I have no memory of the puddle at this point. I only remember gliding over to the truck and getting in with Irving on my head, and shutting the door. Once inside she hopped onto my chest and I clutched her in my hands. Ivy got in with her cage and we were home free. I immediately put Irving in the cage and Ivy said, "Aw, you're not going to put her in the cage are you?!" "Are you kidding?!"
She had given up her freedom to come to me.
Everybody got colds after that: except Irving.
A couple of years ago or more Irving began to lay eggs. They weren't fertile of course, but birds lay them anyway. I constantly worried that Irving, being so small, would become eggbound, unable to deliver her egg. It's fatal. Every time she went into egg laying mode, I worried. We aren't sure if that was the problem, because she was still eating, and active,but Irving kissed me goodnight for the last time last Friday night.
When there's a death, never tell someone, "It's just a bird." Or a dog, or a cat, or whatever. Animals are part of the family. They give us love, and we fall in love with them. I never had a pet show me as much love as Irving did. I never had a pet who loved me more than anyone else. Irving was my baby. We had a bond I've never had with any other pet, as much as I loved them all. Irving was special.
I will bring home no more pets. I don't want another bird. I'm finished.
|Goodnight my Irving girl. I love you forever.|