2003 – 2013
I heard the thud when Speckles fell from her perch to the floor of her cage. I got up quickly thinking maybe she had hurt her leg or wing.
“Speckles! Speckles! What’s wrong girl?”
Then the sound of two screeching noises, her expanded wings started folding inward and her eyes slowly closed. I turned her over and her little beady eyes closed for the last time and she was gone. Just like that! It was as sudden as snapping your fingers or a quick clap of the hands.
In that moment my heart fell. I had that queasy feeling you get when something has gone wrong. The first thought was that she hadn’t been acting any different. I even watched her earlier playing with one of her toys.
I quickly got out the camera and took Speckles’ picture for the last time. I couldn’t help myself.
I started my Google research on causes of cockatiel’s sudden death. I found out that I was not the only one who had experienced that happening. There was no real reason except that Speckles had lived out her years. It was just one of those things where her little heart needed to rest.
I was teary-eyed knowing I had to say goodbye, but I also knew Speckles was well-loved and well taken care of.
I found a perfect little box that would become her coffin and lined it with yellow tissue to match her plumage. I went to my backyard with fork and shovel and started preparing Speckles’ final place of rest. While digging, up came two fat earthworms and I set them aside hoping some other bird would come along and find their evening meal. I placed Speckles in her yellow, tissue-lined coffin, wrote her name and the date of her death on the outside.
I headed back out to her burial site and had just lowered her little coffin when my husband and daughter came along to say their goodbyes. My husband covered over the coffin with dirt; I placed a marker at her gravesite and we said our final goodbyes to Speckles.
I know you may think or say “it was only a bird.” For those of you that have never kept and cared for a pet, it’s easy to think that way. But, for me, it was a shock. Immediately, I felt like my memory was on rewind. I thought Speckles was only in our lives for about 7 years. As it ended up, it had been ten years.
I remembered how she came to be a part of our household. A friend wanted to get rid of Speckles. They didn’t even want any payment, they just wanted to be rid of her. My children, avid pet lovers, especially my daughter who should be an animal rescuer, could not bear the thought of leaving Speckles behind. Thus, Speckles entered our lives.
Her most outstanding quality was her love for head scratches. She would allow you to scratch her head all day if you were able and willing. Sweet bird, but she definitely had the temperament of a female.
She was one of our alarm systems in the house. Every time my husband drove into the garage, I knew he was home even if I didn’t hear the garage door open. She would whistle and get excited. As soon as he entered and neared her vision, she was quiet.
I would whistle to her and she would whistle back. She had her unique cry for her food and her water. She greeted you each day with that special chirp to make you know you made it to a new day and so did she.
I awoke this morning to a different kind of silence and an empty cage. I was happy I made it to a new day, but I realized that special morning chirp from Speckles gave me a boost and brightened my awakening.
It doesn’t matter that she was, as some might say, “just a bird.” This was the loss of a pet. She was loved. She was cared for. She will be missed.