Sunday, December 4, 2011

Another goodbye - December 4th, 2011

Tonight we said goodbye to our sweet little birdie Icarus.  He was a wild European Starling whose nest was destroyed outside our home 4.5 years ago.  He was absolutely defenseless - eyes still closed and no feathers on him, just a slight tuft of down.  We took time off of work to feed him every 20 minutes or so for the first few days, and thankfully feedings quickly spaced out to every few hours, allowing me to just rush home on my lunch hour to feed him.  He had about a 50/50 chance of making it through those first few weeks.  Yeah, he definitely made it.  He quickly 'imprinted' with humans, cats, and dogs meaning that he thought we were all his buddies.  Had we released him back into the wild when he was capable of flying and foraging for food (though he'd never been taught), he would have quickly been killed by a cat or dog that thought he was a snack or toy. So, we bought a huge indoor flight cage and kept him as a pet (he is one of two breeds of wild bird that are legal to keep as pets in our state).  He learned to say about 20 phrases over the years, which we and all of our friends and family found amazing.  Some favorites?  He would say "Good morning Icarus." and "I'll get you some fresh water." He loved to say "Hi!" and one time there were several birds at the feeder that we kept right outside the window next to his cage.  The window was open and he said "HI!" to the birds and they all flew off in fear.  It was so cute and sad too, because he just had no idea how to make other birdie friends.  Another favorite?  After we moved a year and a half ago, his new location was next to the back door where we let the dogs out.  So, he quickly learned to say, "Come on, come on!" to the dogs to get them to come back inside.  Amazingly, he never learned to say any swear words or 'shut up' or anything like that - only positive things.  He was an awesome little bird, and he was very loved.  He was so happy too - he just chattered up a storm all the time and flew around happily in his cage and dinged his bells all the time.  I would say "ding ding" and he would fly or hop over to his bells and ring them.  So adorable.  We will always remember that sweet little guy and how much amazement and happiness he brought into our lives over the years.  Goodbye sweet Icarus - you will be very missed darling bird.