Video tribute to my friend Chuckie
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 most the almond but just loved to break it apart. He still loved his flower mirror toy, as well as a shiny 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. His daily routine consisted of playing with and courting his mate Cheeky (I've never seen a bird happier than when I first introduced him to her) and playing with his many toys and mirrors (which ranged from nibbling on an old shoe string to constantly placing one of his toys into one of the water bowls in his cage
But when he wasn't playing with his toys or bugging Cheeky he'd always be waiting on the front perch next to the door, waiting eagerly to be played with or to tear through an almond. He usually wouldn't wait too long and would fly around the house to look for me. When I'd walk into the room he'd usually stop whatever he was doing and go to that front perch and make a distinct chirping noise, as if to say 'Hi!'.
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 on 7/26 Thursday morning after work I came home and found him on the cage floor looking very weak. I was shocked because just 8 hours ago, before I left I checked on him and he looked okay.
I immediately took him to the vet again but he was so weak he could barely 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, right in front of me. 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 he isn't suffering anymore and more importantly, for his short life up until the very end 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 still do so regularly.
Chuckie, on the right, with his mate Cheeky on the left.
Thank you very much for allowing me to share the memory of my friend Chucky.