Photo Credit: Dale Thompson

Not a day goes by where I don’t walk by the flight that used to be Grandma and Grandpa’s house, and expect to see them sitting there looking at me, craning their necks and waiting for a treat from my pocket. Even though they were not really tame birds, they would both take a nut from my fingers with much gentle delicacy, and never offer to bite me.

I remember so well the day Dale Thompson drove up to my house, and popped out of his rusty old blue Mazda truck with two large carriers full of the biggest Eclectus I ever saw. He brought Grandma and Grandpa, along with Ozzie and Harriet, also wild caught Vos. Dale and I had constructed a joined, double flight cage in front of my mom’s old greenhouse, so the two Vosmaeri couples could be close together. He put a piece of metal the size of the connecting wall of the cage in between, so they wouldn’t spend all their time looking at one another. As nosey as Eclectus are, they can spend hours watching their neighbors, instead of getting down to business. But these smart birds found one tiny hole in the sheet metal that was perhaps a former screw hole, and they would contort themselves to look through that tiny hole, having extended, animated arguments with one another. How goofy it looked to see these big regal birds having a spat through a hole the size of a nail head, bending into incredible positions to give the neighbor a piece of their mind. They spent many hours, especially in the heat of breeding season, grumbling, growling, yelling, hissing and spitting at one another.

Time passes and things change. Ozzie and Harriet’s flight now has a young pair of Solomon Islands Eclectus living in it, and Grandma and Grandpa’s flight has Big Willie and Queen Hugette as its inhabitants. Both of the females are excited over their nests, and I hear them scratching their wood shavings so hard they churn the pieces all the way out the entry doors of the boxes. New blood, new life, new beginnings. Every time I read this piece and see their photos I have a good cry, and feel so very grateful I was allowed to be a part of these stunning creature’s lives.

It seems like yesterday Dale and I stood in front of Grandma, Grandpa, Ozzie and Harriet’s flights and admired our handiwork on assembling their comfy new digs. Dale turned to me and observed, “Their lives just made a huge change!” How right he truly was! And these four Eclectus changed my life forever in return. Memories a-plenty to last a lifetime.

Golden Memories by Susie Christian


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