meet the birds.

Did I ever tell you about the time I went to Meet the Breeds? Well, that will have to wait. Because this is meet the birds.

The birds! We love them! We got them a few weeks ago on New Year’s Eve at Paterson Bird Store and we’ve never looked back.

Actually, we HAVE looked back because some of them are grumpy and screech a lot and this adds to the pain of my constant daily headaches.

But we still love ‘em so let’s meet ‘em.

elvis costello.

Elvis is our first bird and we already had him so you may already know him. But he is a GOOD BOI. He is quiet and patient and he tries to keep order in the cage.

He’s kind of the boss of the others because he was here first. When they start to act crazy he begs them to calm down.

They usually don’t listen.

Elvis loves to fly in laps around the living room and eat kale and basil. He’s the only one that can leave the cage right now because we are trying to train the rest and it’s taking literally forever.

Elvis is so cute.

blondie.

Blondie is mean and grumpy. I’m sorry to say it but she is. She yells the most and she bites the most.

Yes they bite! My parakeet when I was little didn’t bite, and Elvis doesn’t bite, BUT BLONDIE BITES.

They just bite when they’re scared, so since I do my best not to scare them, Blondie has luckily only bitten two or three times, when we’ve needed to move her around. They hate it when you grab them and I don’t blame them but occasionally you have to do a gentle little grab to get them from one place to another quickly and safely.

Now that they’re in their cage and we’re trying to train them we shouldn’t have to grab her anymore so hopefully she’ll feel less scared and won’t bite anymore.

HOPEFULLY.

Blondie is very pretty and she’s kind of my dream when it comes to coloring. I didn’t realize that there were so many different color mutations for budgies and as soon as I saw ones like her on the internet I was like, “it will be mine, oh yes, it will be mine.”

She was my number one pick at the store and it makes me sad that she’s so grumpy but we’re doing our best to win her over.

According to the internet they take a long time to train and to like you or even just tolerate you so I guess it’s going to be a long ride. Blondie also always YELLS and it is ANNOYING.

Like not a nice little peep or even a loud but clear and sweet chirp but like a SCREECHING YELL. She is OUTRAGED. No amount of “talking to her in a calm soft voice” helps.

Sometimes she does make a pretty, sweet chirp and I’m like “Blondie you look so pretty when you smile!” And I know, saying that to her is UNFAIR.

And I’m sorry.

birdie sanders.

Birdie Sanders was my boyfriend’s number one pick at the store and he’s pretty cute. He just hangs out most of the time.

Eek I need to clean these branches.

I felt terrible for him when we got him because the people at the store trimmed all their nails and one of Birdie’s nails was cut too short (a common accident) and started to bleed. The blood looked super red and dark and dramatic coming out of his tiny pink foot. It actually really hurt my feelings.

They cleaned him right up and he was and is fine but that’s how I’ll always think of him, with his bleeding little foot. Ugh I’m gonna cry.

A lot of the time Birdie sits apart from the others and I’m not really sure why. At first it seemed like they picked on him a little but now it just seems like he likes to do his own thing. I also think he’s older than the rest of them, maybe even older than Elvis, because of the way his eyes look.

You can tell their age by their eyes, kinda. When they’re no longer babies, they start to have a lighter part around the their eye, and Birdie has that.

franz birdinand.

Speaking of eyes, Franz Birdinand is a straight up tiny baby because his eyes are HUGE and dark. He’s always just staring with his huge baby eyes, looking for an answer.

Franz is peeking out behind Blondie🤣

Franz and Elvis get along best and it seems like they’re really close pals. They often sit close together and groom each other and it’s really cute.

Franz still gets pretty scared when you approach the cage or put a hand in. He won’t even join the others as they eat millet treats out of my hand. He remains very suspicious of humans, but we’re working on it.

I also kind of always wanted a bright yellow one and Franz checks that box, he’s very bright and pretty, WITH HIS BIG ASS EYES.

So those are the birds! Expect to hear more about them as I get to know them better and continue with their training. They are so cute and I love them so much but the training really takes forever please let it go faster thanks.

They also have an Instagram account that they set up all by themselves and it’s called @herd_ofbirds

paterson bird store.

Today we got 3 new birds! At Paterson Bird Store in Totowa, NJ.

I’m not going to tell you much about the birds yet because I’m honestly scared it’s too soon and they’ll just up and die. Maybe that’s irrational but I just get nervous. After a few days I will properly introduce them. Also two of them still need names! And we want the names to be bird puns and I’m terrible at thinking up puns even though I really love puns so if you have any good bird puns to use for their names PLZ ADVISE.

I WILL tell you more about Paterson Bird Store because I enjoyed it. It’s not IN Paterson, at least not the one I think of when I think of the (NATIONAL PARK!) waterfall or the train station where my friend from Woodland Park comes to pick me up when I visit her. It’s not just my thinking because it’s not Paterson, it’s Totowa. So don’t get confused (I got confused). It’s all in that general direction anyway.

Whatever.

Paterson Bird Store was highly enjoyable! I was looking for a place to get another budgie so my budgie had a budgie to budge with, and I came across it on the Google. I located their Instagram and I thought it seemed like a happy place for happy birds. I also knew I could take a 30min Uber ride there so I was sold.

They were very responsive to DMs and let me know they had a lot of budgies for sale and were open today, New Year’s Eve. YES.

Sadly it was raining, so as we rode through the Meadowlands I didn’t spot any of the outside birds I like to see there, like snowy egrets.

STUPID RAIN.

I WANTED TO SEE BIRDS ON THE WAY TO GET SOME BIRDS.

On the way, I had reached the decision that we would get two new birds, for a total of 3 in our home.

We rode past “American Dream” – hadn’t seen it yet. Well…it was there. We saw it.

We finally arrived at Paterson Bird Store and IT WAS TIME TO PICK OUT SOME BIRDS.

You guys, this is a really nice store. It’s birds and birds only. Special stuff for pet birds. A whole bar/buffet of different kinds of bird seeds and snackies! Tons and tons of toys!

BUT WHERE WERE THE BIRDS?!

“In the back.”

As we entered “the back,” a cacophony of beautiful bird sounds echoed in our ears and we knew true joy.

These birds were having the time of their goddamn lives. They actually seemed really happy and were chirping and flapping and hanging out with each other. It really made me happy and excited to see them all partying in such a way. I feel like my bird Elvis is very quiet and it made me sad, like he’s been so lonely with no bird friends to party with.

This set the stage for me deciding to get 3 birds. It had to be done.

As far as the party birds, I’m only talking about the budgies they have. They had some very pretty finches but I didn’t hang with them too much. They also seemed happy! But I don’t really know their lives so who knows.

A blue and gold macaw, a scarlet macaw, and an African grey were also in residence!

These three are all super cool looking and smart and large birds, and it was a treat to see them and say hi.

Yes. I said it was “a treat.” Accept that. They were lovely and perfect. And I love them forever.

It was really hard to choose a budgie! They were all cute and lively and had fun patterns and feathers. I wanted to go with a bird or two with a wacky color mutation because the one we already have is a very handsome standard version and I wanted to mix it up. I think we did a good job in choosing a standard looking blue one, a bright yellow one, and a gray/white/blue/yellow one. Those are not the scientific names for the colors. But they break them all down here and it’s interesting as hell, if you care.

The gray/white/blue/yellow one was my favorite to choose but he also bites so…yeah. I think he’s just nervous though! Let’s give him a chance, please.

The kind women at the store expertly retrieved our chosen birds and gave them a quick nail and wing trim. Elvis has his wings grown out and can fly around but we thought it might keep these new guys safer to have them short to start, as they learn their way around the apartment. I hope it works for them but they seemed really sad when I was moving them from the travel cage into a bigger cage and they tried to fly away from me and they couldn’t get off the ground.

Not that they had space to fly around before but their wings worked differently and felt different and they were dealing with accepting that and it made me so sad.

Maybe I’m just projecting…but I was like “They WILL grow back you guys!” <sobs>

Anyway they’re adorable and we packed them up and brought them home.

They have to quarantine from Elvis for a week so they are in a cage nearby to allow tweeting and meeting. I can’t wait to hang out with them more once they settle in and stop feeling shy.

And angry.

i had a budgie but it died.

Starting with a joke because I’m still really heartbroken about it. I had a budgie but it died.

Just like Murray, my budgie died. Also we don’t really call them budgies around here IN AMERICA but I think it’s a fun little name so I’m going to go with it.

A few months ago I wrote a post that we got a parakeet. We did! His name is Elvis. A few weeks after we got him, we got another parakeet and named her Stevie. In a true expression of the curse of the second child, I did not write a post about Stevie. So I’m going to write one in her honor now.

From the moment Stevie came to live with us I felt worried about her. For some reason I was nervous she would die. I never talked about it but in my mind she was always on the edge of death and I was constantly googling what could possibly be wrong.

It could have all just been in my head, like 99% of my problems, but she didn’t seem as strong and robust as Elvis. I know she was probably smaller because she was a girl, but there was more to it. She stood in kind of a slouchy position all the time. She often looked like she was breathing heavy or struggling to catch her breath. She came to us with dirty-looking wings and a tail feather that was all shredded up. Birds are supposed to preen their own feathers, so it seemed like she wasn’t taking care of herself properly. And I’m not 100% sure but I think a budgie’s long ass tail feather is supposed to really help with their balance, etc.

The first thing I thought when I saw her was “I can’t wait until she gets settled in and starts to thrive.” Budgies can live 15 years in captivity, and I was looking forward to the long haul. I wanted to be able to look back to the day we got her and say, “Look how far she’s come!”

Ugh. This really crushes me. But I felt like she DID get better. Her feathers started to look cleaner, and they also grew longer. She was talkative and alert. She actually yelled a lot. She made an angry bird screech that I’ve only heard Elvis do once or twice when he’s like REALLY PISSED. I thought it was a good sign she was so pissed. She had a zest for life!

Stevie also seemed like she was getting close to saying words. All of the YouTube videos I watch of budgies, and I watch a lot, include budgies speaking. And it’s cute as hell. But part of their warmup to speaking is like…robot sounds? And Stevie made a lot of robot sounds.

She was the only budgie in the family making any effort to say human words. And it was awesome. Her brother/roommate/boyfriend would just stand there and stare judgmentally. As he continues to do to this very day.

Stevie and Elvis also had a very sweet relationship that made me smile. She would yell a lot but often they would snuggle up together, clean each other’s feathers, and eat and drink together at the same time. At night after we would “put them to bed,” aka put a blanket over their cage, which is so much like “tucking them in” it makes me want to sob, they would make soft happy noises at each other for like 30 minutes before they fell asleep.

It makes me really sad to think about it now. I hope Elvis isn’t lonely.

I probably think about this too much.

The morning things started to go downhill for Stevie, she seemed really sleepy. Out of it. She sat in the food bowl and looked tired. She moved to a perch and kept kind of falling asleep and then flapping when she started to fall off the perch and woke herself up. I reached in to have her hop on my finger to check on her and she didn’t put up a fight. She wasn’t really trained yet so she would usually hop away, but this time she just hopped on my finger and kind of relaxed. Something was wrong.

I left to go to a barre class and brunch because I may be a weird bird lady but I’m still basic AF. When I returned home, conditions hadn’t improved. I started to panic and desperately sought advice from the internet. I came across a very helpful site called Just Answer. It seems silly but they had live people to chat with and I was able to talk to a vet that could advise some things to do. When it got to a point that I couldn’t find an actual avian vet to go to, the chat vet found an emergency care place in Hoboken that had a vet with some experience with birds.

The vet visit was going to cost $150 or more and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to pay for it. Because I’m poor. But the chat vet also sent me information about veterinary care financing options. Like get it now pay for it later. I love to pay for it later! And get it now!

We loaded Stevie up and called an Uber. And went to Hoboken.

The vet was very kind. We had to drop Stevie there and leave her for a bit, because COVID, so we went to an outdoor bar. I was really upset. I drank a watermelon vodka drink. I felt more upset.

They gave Stevie oxygen and fluids, and recommended that she stay overnight. I thought that sounded fine until they said it would be $1300. There was no way. Vet care is so expensive. I won’t say that they took advantage of us or anything like that, I think this is just the way it is. They let us know that even if she stayed they couldn’t say it would even really help. They were very kind and helpful, and even gave her more fluids and a beak and talons trim, free of charge.

Not sure she really had “talons” but that’s the only word I can think of.

In the end they chalked it up to “respiratory distress.” Which a bird can fall victim to for no less than one million reasons. So we still have no idea why.

We took her home, to meet her fate. In the Uber on the way, she uttered her last little chirp of her short adorable life.

We kept her in a separate cage from Elvis in case it was contagious. She was covered for peace and darkness. She had food and water, and a heating pad to keep her warm. For little birdies it goes downhill fast and I felt like it was only a matter of time.

Not a good sign 🙁

Stevie only lived another 24 hours or so. The end was hard. I cried a lot. I felt really helpless. I knew she was dying and I didn’t know if she was scared and wanted company or wanted to be alone. It’s not clear what a budgie would prefer. Even google didn’t really know.

After she died I kept crying. For at least a week. I felt really overwhelmingly, unreasonably, unbearably sad. I couldn’t stop crying.

It felt strange, to feel so sad about a pet. And not even one I’d known that long. I just couldn’t feel better about the fact that I’d let her down. That I couldn’t pay to try to make her better. That I didn’t get to see her live and grow and thrive. Or learn words.

She used to love her bowling toy. Elvis doesn’t really care about the bowling toy and it makes me so sad, seeing the bowling toy still and silent.

Not interested in the bowling toy. Or any toy.

I had to do a lot of googling to find support for my unbearable sadness. As always I sought solace in commiseration. I tried to find other people that were uncontrollably sad about a pet’s death. And I did! The internet is a beautiful place. It helped me to heal. And I’m grateful for it every day. And I don’t care how bad some people think it is. It has everything we need.

Stevie currently is in our freezer. It’s a makeshift bird morgue. If that’s wrong, I don’t want to be right. She’s wrapped in tissue paper, in a small cardboard Madison Reed box, also wrapped in plastic. I’m 80% sure it’s perfectly sanitary. She’s awaiting an epic Viking funeral, when we find the right place.

I just wanted to share all of that, to commemorate her. Thanks for reading. I love you little Stevie, Rest In Peace.

we got a bird.

Today, we got a bird! He’s a small green parakeet and his name is Elvis.

I didn’t name him but I guess that name is okay. It references the Elvis Costello Elvis. Not the other Elvis. GET IT STRAIGHT.

You may be aware that I love birds so I’m very excited to have one as a family member. I had a parakeet named “Petite” as a pet growing up and I really loved her a lot so I’m pumped to hang with this guy as well.

Elvis is still settling in, he’s quiet and shy for now. He’s made a few little soft chirps and has eaten a ton of food. Today I ordered him some toys and a mirror and a bath and perches and also a cuttlebone. Still not 100% sure what a cuttlebone is or does but it’s something FOR HIS HEALTH and therefore very important.

Currently he has full wings, they aren’t clipped. Which means he could fly off into the sunset and never come back, or he could fly into a wall and hurt himself. So we have to be careful taking him out. And I guess we’re supposed to clip his wings? That makes me kind of scared. But seems like it doesn’t hurt? And would keep him safe? Maybe I’m wrong. We’ll just leave the wings alone for now anyway. Since it’s the apocalypse.

We put our photo by his cage to watch over him.

I wasn’t aware of this previously but he also would enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables according to the internet! So I look forward to sharing those with him. I’ll share the fruits. I’ll give him all of my vegetables because I don’t want them. DON’T TELL.

We discussed getting a bird previously but getting one today was a surprise! A surprise to me, my boyfriend went to pick him up and said he was “getting a palm tree” (which I also still want), and when he got back he was like, “Close your eyes!” And he walked me through the living room and I bumped into everything in the living room and when I opened my eyes the bird was there!

We got a bird!