Jewel was a rescue ... she came to me after a random conversation about sewing lead to the fact that I've had birds in the past, and someone knew a family looking for a home for a bird. You see, Jewel didn't like men very much, and it made it hard for her to get along with families.
I was lonely, having just moved back to Austin, and was always hearing the funny stories about a co-worker's scarlet macaw ... so I thought to myself "Why not? I'll go meet her, and see if we hit it off."
They warned me as I approached her cage on the back porch that she often doesn't take to strangers so not to be offended if she screamed at me. She almost immediately climbed up my arm and made herself at home on my shoulder - and my heart melted.
She could be loud, don't get me wrong, and she didn't talk like many Quaker parrots do. But she sure could communicate. It seems I was always learning a new quirk or trick she had under her wing. And they were right, she didn't like men - particularly men walking dogs? Despite that, Tim welcomed her into his home and even made a tentative friendship with her.
Last week, I came home and cleaned her cage, checked on her food and water, and started getting ready for dinner (we were going to eat with Tim's dad). As I waited on Tim to get home, I sat down to work on something and suddenly had that "It is TOO quiet" feeling. Sure enough, there she was ... fluffed up on the bottom of her cage, trying to lay an egg.
After dinner we reassessed the situation - and she hadn't made any progress. She was alert and aware though, and even drinking water. She knew who we were (she tried to bite Tim and snuggled for a bit with me). She even made her way back up to the place she always slept for the night. The emergency vet in the area didn't serve birds ... so we waited until morning.
We rushed her to the first avian vet that had any openings, and they confirmed what we thought - she was egg-bound. She was given pain medication, and the vet broke the egg so it could be removed. The procedure was successful, but he told us she had some tissue death in her cloaca. He didn't have time then to talk to us, so we made an appointment to come back in a few hours and discuss our options ... reconstructive surgery (which honestly doesn't sound promising when we're talking about a 100 gram bird), giving her antibiotics and seeing how she does at home, etc. Well, she made the decision for us and passed away not long after.
Tim kindly offered to take us to the farm and bury her there. We found a nice spot on a bit of a hill, and Tim said the sweetest prayer. He said he was thinking some kind of "tribute" like a bird house or something would be nice.
Jewel left us with some great memories, and these are just a few of them.
- The way she would wait to sing her "It's morning and I'm a bird" song until I had turned off the fan when I was sleeping in
- The way she would dance when someone clapped
- The way she liked to be covered and then "found" under a towel, and would even cover herself
- The way she loved carrots and hated corn
- The way she still made little "baby bird" wings when given a snack
- The way she liked to cuddle, and ride around in the pocket of hoodies
- The way she didn't like to be watched when climbing the stairs
- The way she waddled and followed her humans around the house