Thursday, November 01, 2007
We set him free
Today we set Henry free. I love this bird and will miss him dearly.
He's a large parakeet that we bought, along w/ his partner Fonda, back some 2 1/2 yrs ago. The girl that was working for us let Fonda go about 1 1/2 yrs ago (I blogged about the whole thing if you're interested a while back), and ever since then, Henry just hasn't been the same. There was a sadness in his eyes and for anyone that's been reading my blog for any length of time knows that I was really worried about him in the beginning - after she was let out - because he really loved her.
It's been since then that I've wanted to set him free, but had major doubts about it... for fear he wouldn't be able to fly, the stray cats would kill him or he'd die of hunger. I have no idea how long he was a caged bird before we got him, so I had no idea what he was capable of. I know Fonda either flew off or was killed. I've thought, on several occasions, that I've heard her outside and thought I even saw her once in the tree across the street, but I'm not sure. I know on those occasions Henry went crazy calling to that bird... so I do hope it was Fonda.
It all happened this morning. Me and Naief were downstairs - he was in his walker and I had just picked him up when I looked out the back door and saw about 3 birds standing on the bird's cages. We have them outside now since the weather has gotten so nice. Seeing that I had just fed the birds, I sorta freaked out in thinking that they had gotten out somehow... but then I realized that these were wild birds that came down to have a look. Well, all of our birds went crazy w/ excitement, especially Henry.
It was at this moment that I decided that Henry could survive if these birds were surviving and I wanted to let him go. Hashim had just run out to get some Panadol for me and diapers for the baby, so he saw all the parakeets on the cage outside. Before he left for work, he opened Henry's cage door.
I stood inside waiting to see what was going to happen. It wasn't but two or three minutes and Henry was climbing outta of his cage. He stretched his wings, flapped them like crazy and took off... but he didn't go far... only down to the tile. I freaked. Tigger, the outside cat, was out there and I knew if I didn't get out there fast, he'd kill Henry.
Here comes Tigger and he makes an instant leap towards Henry.
I ran out the door and yelled at Tigger to go away. Henry flew over to the shelves we have outside - onto the bottom shelf - and stood there. Tigger came around the back and again I had to scream to make him leave. I knew that if I didn't get Henry up off the ground, he'd get killed for sure. Henry flew over to where the cages are and sat there. I immediately went over there, leaned down and put my arm for him. Shockingly, Henry climbed onto my arm and I lifted him up to the cage. That's the first time that he's ever let me pick him up... we used to let him and Fonda fly around our TV room when we had both of them and he'd never come to me.
Well... he was back onto the top of his cage. I picked up Naief and stood outside, sweet talking him and trying to get him to go back inside. There were a couple of times that I thought for sure that he was going to, but he didn't. So I took Naief inside and stood at the door in hopes that he'd go inside his cage. But what did he do???
He flew off in the direction of the empty parking lot next to our house. I ran into the other room, threw on another top, grabbed a big towel and ran outside. I knew I'd have to throw the towel over Henry to get him back inside. But when I got out there, he was nowhere to be found. I looked under every car, up to the apts but there was nothing. I didn't even hear him.
So... I went back to the house, stood by the door and called out to him. Still nothing. After feeding Naief, I heard a call that sounded just like Henry. Me and Naief go out and after making our way to the front of the house to look in all the trees and to make sure he didn't land in the front yard, I look in the trees in the front of the house next to us and then walk back around to the side of the house. It was at this point that I saw Henry up in the tree by my FILs house - the tree right in front of our house.
I called to him and he squawked several times but wouldn't come.
I gave the baby to Salumi and asked her to hold him and after opening the garage door, I called to him - hoping he'd come back down to the cage. As I stood there and talked to him, he moved over on the branch he was perched on and then flew right down in front of me, as if to say goodbye, and then off towards the apts down from us, and he was gone. That was the last I saw of him.
I started crying from a rush of emotions. I was so happy to see him flying, happy that he wasn't afraid and happy that he was free, but I was sad too because I love him so much and am terribly sad to see him go....
Well... this afternoon at around 4, I went outside because I thought I heard him. For any of you wondering, he's a different type of parakeet than the others and has a different call... so I knew when I heard it that it was him. I went out to the front yard, looked up in the trees across the street, up to the apts and then started walking around the house and there he was. He was in the tree across the street.
I called to him and he called back to me. Henry can talk... he can say things like "good boy", "hey Oprah", "pretty bird" and make cat sounds.... so another fear is that someone will hear him and he'll be caught and put back into the bird market here... but I really hope not.
Anyway... after standing out there and talking to him for a bit, I went to get Hashim. He came out and saw him and we both smiled. It was if Henry had come to show me that he's a big boy and can fly....
Hashim went to get a ladder and put some food on top of the neighbor's garage that backs up to our house - it's high up and I don't think any cats will get up there. We also put some water. When I looked out our bathroom window this afternoon, the big dried red pepper that I put on the food was gone... maybe the wind took it, but I hope not.
Henry flew off again and is perching some place for the night. Tomorrow I hope he finds some friends and is able to fly off w/ others like him or some of these smaller parakeets - if they'll accept him. He's a sweet boy. He never tried to bite me and would take food right from my fingers.... and there was a time that he'd talk/mumble in this low voice like he was speaking to me.... I'll never forget him.
I hope he stays free for the rest of his life and lives a happy life. Today in the tree he was preening his feathers, stretching out his wings and seemed so happy. I'm really glad I got to see that..... and I'm glad he came back to say hello. Maybe, if I'm lucky, he'll find a mate and stay in this area.