Wednesday, March 10, 2010
I had volunteered for parrot911. This is a national database network retrieving and reuniting lost & found parrots with their owners. I helped reunite one cockatiel with his owner that was from Bedford NH. The bird was found in Billerica MA.
As I was scanning the Daily news I saw an ad in the lost & found section , "found: a green cockatiel found on Salisbury beach". A green cockatiel?!? I've never heard of such a thing. My curiosity got to me so I called the number to find out more about the bird so I could list it in the database of "found" birds.
I talked to "Bob and Barb". They are a nice elderly couple that live right on the beach. They invited me over to see the bird. In the little carrier I saw not a cockatiel, but a budgie. I told them I volunteered for parrot911 in hopes of reuniting lost birds with their owners. They got the biggest kick out of this. They were very affiable and we hit if off right away. They asked me to take "Smitty" because they really didnt' know anything about birds and they had a dog.
I remember the day I went over, it was July 11th. Greenhead season was just about starting.
(Greenheads are nasty green flies that bite hard)
There was a tornado warning issued over the radio. Bob urged me to stay a bit until the warning passed. I thought to myself, "a tornado? At Salisbury beach!??" The skies instantly turned black and wind picked up at a violent rate. The house shook a little but it passed as quickly as it came. It turned out a tornado did touch down on route 95 at the Hampton tolls. It picked up a pickup truck just as the poor sucker was waiting to pay the toll. He was unharmed but the truck was knocked over. Maybe this was sign Smitty was meant to go home with me.
When I got home, I scanned the database of missing budgies on my computer. There was one possible match from Portsmouth, NH only a few miles north. I made the call but it turned out the budgie that was missing was a yellow female. Smitty was a green male. I continued the search and called the local animal control officers and vet clinics to see if they have heard of any lost budgies.
During this time I kept Smitty from the other birds just in case he was carrying any zoonoses. Since it looked like he was going to be staying awhile I made an appointment with an avian vet for a checkup. It turned out he was carrying a chlamydia-like bacterium possibly due from picking on grungy seaweed on the beach. I administered the necessary antibotics directed by the vet for 14 days. Smitty recovered nicely.
Smitty established himself as one little hooligan terrorizing the cockatiels by dive bombing them and yelling raucously. I kept in contact with Bob and Barb filling them in with Smitty's exploits.
Bob and Barb were very active in the community especially with the senior center. They asked me if I wouldn't mind doing a little talk for the "old folks' at the assisted living center. I thought to myself,"sure, why not!"
I bought some of my old Bird Talk magazines and Birds & Bloom magazines that I figured someone might be interested in reading. I brought "Button", my friendly yellow cockatiel, and "Whook", my talking budgie, to the talk. "Button" was an instant hit with the elderly ladies. They giggled like little kids delighted that Button choose to land on them. Button enjoyed the attention as well. Whook, however, clammed up. Whook is now an elderly bird and it just wasn't his day.
Button was the star of the show. My audience enjoyed the "Smitty" story as well as other birdy stories I had presented. It turned out to be a great day.
It is amazing how one little bird can affect your life !