Photo Credit: Dale Thompson

The findings of Grandma’s necropsy indicated she died of old age related symptoms, such as heart, lungs and kidney degeneration. She did have sarcocystosis in her skeletal muscles, and so did Grandpa, as we previously discovered from his necropsy. Both of their necropsies indicated that sarco had been present in their systems for many years. All of the aviary locations where Grandma and Grandpa had lived here in California have possums in the general area, and possums are the carriers of sarco. No getting away from that one in our California out door aviaries. They still however managed to live many years with the presence of sarco in their systems. While we hate to see a bird die, and particularly ones so rare as these, it is interesting to find out what the ancient, wild caught birds die of, consistent with the ripe old age they reach.

One thing I found interesting when Grandma died, was the fact that over the years her quarantine leg band had worn a groove into her leg.  The band itself wasn't particularly tight, but probably her setting all those thousands of hours, motionless in her nest box, could have contributed to one ankle being smaller than the other.  Seeing the indentation that long wearing of the band had given her leg, reminded me of the place that a wedding ring makes when it is worn for many years.  There is no pain or irritation attached, just that our flesh adapts itself to its badge of service.  I took these beautiful and poignant photos of her well-worn, calloused feet, with and without the band after she passed away.  Interesting to me also how lush and healthy her feathers were until the very end.


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