Monday, October 5, 2009

A Story Of A Life Lived Well

Well, let's take a break from all the scenery photos. Here, I'll introduce you to my birds. In my bedroom, one wall is filled with birdcages. I have 4 cages with Ringneck Doves, 1 cage with a pair of Parakeets, 2 cages with Canaries and 1 Guinea Pig. Bunny, the Guinea Pig, was formerly named Buddy until I decided she was female. That's her having a drink of water in a Wal-Mart container tub sandwiched between 2 cages of Ringneck Doves. Bunny, like most of my dogs and cats, is a remnant of my days volunteering at the Animal Shelter:

I got a pair of Ringneck Doves as an experiment and fell in love with them, deciding that they were ideal pets. Then I became enthralled with the color varieties which I was seeing on the internet and ordered some fancy birds from Nebraska. This color variety is called a "wild pied" and the couple of fancy tail feathers you see in the corner belong to a "silky."

Doves, like pigeons, are terrific parents and breed rapidly. I soon learned that they quickly produce many more babies than there is a market for. So now they all have wooden eggs in their nests and any real eggs are discretely removed:

Every morning I let all the birds out to fly while I clean and refill their food and water dishes. The Doves and Parakeets clearly enjoy the socialization they get interacting with each other. The Canaries, I must confess, no longer get to fly free. They became too difficult to get back into their cages:

The Parakeets have been trained to allow me to wrap my hands around their little feathered bodies and lift them out of and back into their cage each morning. The black and yellow Canary was no problem either, but the pure yellow Canary, though it was clear he enjoyed his morning flights, was very difficult to catch and return to his cage. So I eventually obeyed the guidelines which warn against allowing Canaries to fly free. Anyway, notice that pure yellow Canary. This is his story:

My Canary story begins with this pretty little bird which I happened onto at the local bird shop just down the road from my house. He was a bit expensive, but I thought he might fill my bedroom with both color and song. He never sang a note, however, so I went to PetSmart and bought a much cheaper yellow Canary to occupy an adjoining cage and hopefully inspire him to sing:

The yellow PetSmart Canary had a lively personality from the start. He and his neighbor liked each other and soon spent their days communing through the bars of their cages. The black and yellow bird never sang and never produced and egg, which might have explained why. I began to think he reminded me of many people I know who just live mediocre lives, getting through each day without adventure, without great love or great joy or great sorrow. They just exist.

My little yellow PetSmart bird, however, had a real passion for life from the very beginning. And soon he began filling my bedroom with song. Now, after a year or so has passed, he has developed a tumor on his head which, I fear, will eventually take his life. But still he lives his life with gusto. When I refill his seed bowl, he's all over it. When I refill his water bowl, he hops over immediately to drink and to splash and bathe in it. When I give him greens, he eats and plays with them. His tumor does not slow him down:

When I enter the room, he immediately notices and begins singing. Now, I know that many ornithologists would insist a bird does NOT sing for joy but only territorially. I beg to differ. I've lived with this little guy. He sings because he's happy with life and happy to see me. Unlike his neighbor, his way of living life reminds me of people I've known who ARE living their lives to the fullest, with joy, energy and drive. This little Canary is an example of how I strive to live my life also. Some day soon I figure I'll have to say goodbye to this sweet little fellow. I wanted to remind myself how to live and to immortalize his joyous life now by making this post. His is a life lived well:

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