Saturday, May 24, 2008

Journal of a Living Lady #322

Granted, Tick is an unusual name for a cockatiel bird. But that is what I named the little chirper who caught my ear when I entered the local pet store a few months ago.

Years ago I bought over 100 of these small birds from a traveling vagabond on the way to Florida. I had the bright idea of raising them for fun and profit. That was back when ours boys, one by birth, one adopted, were around 12-years-of age.

Bobby had little interest, so Charlie became the budding entrepreneur. Looking back, it was probably was not a good idea. My intent was teaching responsibility and giving an opportunity to earn extra pocket money. Charlie was keen at first, willingly giving up the abandoned tree house for an aviary.

The experiment lasted about as long as the worm farm, but though his interest waned, my love of birds continued. Eventually I earned a certificate in ornithology from Cornell University just because. Dabbling in new experiences has been the story of my life, but back to Tick.

Tick went home with me the day I discovered him in the pet shop. I was on a mad dash to get back to school after a quick lunch. I constantly glanced at my watch, thinking tick, tock, tick, tock. The friendly clerk seemed oblivious to time whereas I am a perpetual clock watcher. Tick seemed an appropriate name for my new little friend and it stuck. I was duly warned at the pet shop that Tick was an escape artist.

I have never been one for single animals. About a week later, I added Tock, a yellow female cockatiel. Tick was elated with his new girlfriend and sang to her daily. He even learned the first few bars of the Andy Griffin theme song. Our Siamese cat, Sam, lay contently on the floor listening to Tick chirp or sing. He never seemed even remotely interested in harming either of the birds.

When the weather started turning warmer, we moved Tick and Tock to the screened front porch. I even added a home-made nesting box in hopes of future Tockettes.

My afternoon routine included playing with Tick and Tock, changing the cage papers, and adding new food. One recent day Tick was not in the cage. The safety clip was still in place on the front door. I knocked on the nesting box, but no response.

I called for Tick, but no familiar chirp returned. I started searching the porch and, alas, found a pile of white feathers and a hole in the screen where Sam apparently had made his entry.

To this day, I don’t know how Tick got out of the cage unless he managed to pull the seed slide door. It is so small that he would have had to struggle to get through it.

It has been less than a week since the loss. Tock is lonely and I check on her often. Today she left me a gift...a tiny white egg. She must have a mate. So off to the pet store I go in search of a new Tick.

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