It always seems like we have to complete a major project when my husband and I have some time off. Last year we completed an overhaul of our master bedroom and installed a wooden floor. This year we decided that it was time to sell off our flock of lovebirds.
Now we had been gradually down-sizing in the bird department, but this was a full-scale attempt to empty two large aviaries. Since my husband’s employment had changed a few years ago (he used to work from home) we just haven’t had the time to dedicate to the little guys. We decided this would be the best time to sell them, before spring and they started their annual round of baby-bird production.
Within a short time of posting an ad, we had received several responses, mostly people wanting one or two birds. Since these birds have been living together and forming bonds (or so I like to believe), the ideal situation would be one where they all could remain together.
Finally the email arrived from a nice lady who had aviaries in the past but due to a move she couldn’t take them with her. She was now settled into a new home and her father had built her aviaries and she was in need of occupants. That meant she could take all the birds! So we took turns catching them (and losing a few out into the neighborhood palm trees) and she came and picked them up.
After she left, as we were dismantling the nest boxes, we heard the unmistakable sound of jeeting. Babies! There was one in one nest – about 1 week old, and two in another nest that looked to be only days out of the egg. My heart sank!
This is another reason that we have been getting out of the bird business – actually more of a hobby because we never really made any money at it! I get way too attached to these feathered friends and would always fret over if they were happy enough in the environment that we had created for them or if the people I sold them to were going to take good care of them.
So here I am with three baby birds looking at me, and I am overwhelmed with guilt because I just sold their parents! I know what I must do. I head for the freezer and take out my container of hand-feeding formula. I find myself, once again, feeding hungry baby birds throughout the night and holding my breath every time I uncover them to make sure that they are all right.
Unfortunately, one of the smallest ones did not make it past a week, but the other two are still hanging in there. The older of the two is growing and starting to actually look somewhat like a bird, but the other one is not growing as quickly as I would like, but still is very strong and enjoys his feedings. For some reason my husband named it Alvin, so that is now his or her name.
I feed them in the morning, then pack up their supplies and they come to work with me (I have an extremely understanding boss!), where they sit covered under the warmth of a lamp all day, occasionally getting uncovered for a peek by a co-worker. They get fed again in the afternoon and then we head home for dinner and a before bedtime feeding. I don’t need to feed them in the night now, so when I get up in the morning, we start all over again.
My biggest fear isn’t that they will survive and thrive, but more that I won’t be able to part with these incredibly sweet, extremely tame (from all the hand feeding!) and adorable lovebirds. Especially Alvin, I know, once you name them you’re in trouble. Just when I had resigned myself that I was done with this bird business it looks like I am still in it!