Well, I cannot believe it’s been nearly a year since I last posted a blog entry. My life has changed a lot in many ways and not at all. But happily so.
My flock is doing very, very well. They do love living here in Albuquerque with me in my little cottage. The cockatiels Chipper and Charlie are about 14 years old, Sam is about 12, and Steve around 12 also (3 of which have been with me).
Steve is doing very well too, despite his chronic underwing wound. Having been a rescued African Grey with serious emotional and physical problems, he has really turned around and become a happy, well-adjusted (for him) Grey. He is still phobic about being removed from his cage, and he doesn’t take any chances if he thinks someone wants to pull him out and take him to the vet. So he sticks close by his cage. But he’s a happy guy and we have a wonderful connection. He is the most gentle and sweet bird with a bit of Grey playfulness shining forth now and then. Here are some photos of him from last week. He is actually not perching on my knee (though he has done that from time to time), but is sitting on a perch on his cage door asking for head rubs.
Steve’s underwing wound originated with his first owner who neglected him and didn’t provide any kind of stimulation. At first, we thought he was mutilating himself; but I’ve since learned from my vet here that Steve has a chronic problem with ingrown feathers under one wing. This may be the original cause of the wound – Steve’s attempts to remove the discomfort.
The bad thing is that he always has a bit of a bloody wound or scab under that one wing, but if I take him to the dreaded (but wonderful!) vet every 2-4 months to have it debrided and swabbed and checked for ingrown feathers, he does very well. He may eventually die of an infection, but so far he has lived with it without complications. It must present him with pain every day, but you would not know it except that he is slower moving than most Greys and he doesn’t stretch or lift his wings in greeting, as most parrots do.
My excellent avian vet and I have gone over possible surgical solutions, but he has so little skin left in that area, and the stress would be extreme for Steve. We both feel Steve needs to be allowed to live happily with some minimal help along the way. Here he is, after a thorough drenching shower, happily chewing up foraging materials with his humidifier spewing its helpful wetness into a very dry New Mexico fall season.
Sam is a wonderful companion and loves going for walks on my shoulder out into our garden. For longer walks, I put him into a small soft-side parrot carrier, which he loves. He is easy-going and a very simple guy – though he doesn’t take well to strangers. He considers my mother and sisters strangers…still! After 2 years.
And my most recent avian accomplishment was to get my two cockatiels to room in the same cage. I had begun them together when I got Charlie, but they proved to be too competitive then. But they’ve mellowed also and spend so much time in each other’s cage that I thought it was time. And it’s working out great and saving me some much-needed space (this is Chipper below – Charlie was roosting somewhere on top of my cupboard when the photo was taken).
Although I haven’t been painting for some time, I still explore ways to create. Recently, I had a real desire to embroider again and I combined that desire with creating a liturgical item for my local priest, called a pall (it covers the chalice used during Mass), and this was the result. I love embroidery, which I used to do a lot when I was in my 30s. Eventually I will get back to painting. However, it may have to wait till I have more time when I’m not working regularly.
The fall here is always beautiful – spectacularly so: cold nights, warm golden days with soft, very dry, breezes. The annual balloon festival is in full swing, and I am very grateful for everything. May your fall be lovely and may you keep warm and toasty this winter!
PS BunRab, my house rabbit, is fine too. She is currently shedding her spring/summer coat and looks rather tatty so did not want to be photographed!