Monday, April 8, 2013

fly my pretty

It's been an afternoon and evening of heartbreak. Our budgie Jackie escaped and there doesn't look like any way we'll be able to catch her. We have some many tall trees, the kids tried climbing them to get to her but she just flew to another, and then we lost sight of her and the sun set. I will spend all tomorrow looking for her in the slimmest of hopes that I can catch her before a hawk or falcon does, or the chilly autumn nights are too cold for her. The worst thing is that it was my fault. I cleaned her cage out on the deck and squirted the bottom clean with a hose and left the tray out to dry. While I was doing Miss L's hair for ballet class, I heard the flutter of her wings and saw her fly off. She had managed to squeeze out the bottom of the cage where the tray goes, which I had no idea was large enough.  If only I'd put the tray back in earlier, I  am kicking myself, and wishing I could turn back the clock.

We have only had Jackie since late December, but she has come to be a beloved part of our lives. I should start by how we came to "own" her, as that's a story I've been meaning to tell.

On summer's evening we were at Rabbit Island, a local beach, with my sister and her family having a bbq. As the night was drawing in we were getting ready to leave my sister and brother-in-law were driving some of us along the gravel track when we saw a flash of bright blue. Stopping the car we saw a budgie who was struggling to fly, but could still flutter about a bit. My sister tried to walk up to her when she was on the ground and catch her, but she flew away, only to return to the ground again exhausted. This time she threw her cardigan on her and caught her, I found a box in the back of their car and we transferred her into the box and took her home.

 I told the kids we weren't keeping a budgie, as they are dirty with all the seeds and feathers that they flick out of their cage, and also we already have enough pets. So I placed an advert on the lost and found pets section of Trade Me. Meanwhile, Jackie, as Miss L christened her - because she was caught under a jacket, and because we couldn't tell whether she was a boy or girl, was winning us over with her placid and friendly ways. We didn't have a proper birdcage, only one without a base that I use as a prop at craft markets. So she was put in there with a box providing the base. L could sit holding her stroking her head while watching TV and Jackie would close her eyes and go to sleep.

 We never found her owners, even although she had a red band on her leg. I think she must have been an aviary bird rather than a beloved cage pet, as after three days - by which time she had won us over - she reverted to her true self. No longer could she be caught and held, instead when ever a finger got near her she bit it - hard. We soon gave up trying to let her out of her cage for a fly around the garage (where she was kept) as it would involve poking her with the broom to get her off the garage door sliders. Still we were smitten, her beautiful feathers and crazy antics won us over. I brought a lovely cage for her on Trade Me, and she became part of the family.

All summer whenever we have eaten dinner out on the deck, Jackie has been there in her cage entertaining us with her silly feats of hanging upside down on one foot, climbing from perch to perch, ripping up newspaper etc. Today she even tried passionfruit for the first time and loved it. But in a split second she was gone, free again. Which is what I think she always wanted to be, but she doesn't realise it's a very big and bad world out there.

Now we are all devastated.  I've told the kids we will get another budgie., one who will hop onto an out stretched finger rather than attacking it. But we will never forget Jackie.


  1. Don't blame yourself Sally - these things happen, and you were cleaning Jackie's cage in her best interests after all...I know how you feel though, and I hope, hope, HOPE! you manage to find her tomorrow. She sounds like a character. Keep us posted and take care x

  2. I'm so sorry to reading about afternoon and evening of heartbreak. I do hope that you may find her and catch her tomorrow even though the chances maybe slim, Jackie sounds such a character and she has bought you such joy in the short time you have had her. My colleague at work as a budgie too and I know how much a part of the family they can be. Thinking of you and will keep my fingers crossed.
    Sarah x

  3. oh no, poor budgie-bird and poor you guys. really hoping you find her/him today xxx

  4. Awww, I'm so sorry about Jackie. I hope you can still find her! If not, you gave her the best possible care and love while she was with you. She is such a pretty bird.