||Fourteen years old|
||Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, USA|
found Valentine about fourteen years ago in a little pet shop near
Chicago. She was housed in a tiny cage that had water and seeds in it.
Her feathers were ragged and she had bald spots. I went ballistic.
Lories are fruit and nectar eaters. They can't extract enough
nutrients from seed, and they need a high energy diet. These are high
In my tirade over the treatment of this wonderful, exotic bird, I had
somehow purchased her... at a greatly reduced price. We drove straight
to the veterinary clinic where the doctor examined her, gave me the
correct diet for her and told me that even though she would probably
never become tame; she was a wild caught import and had a band stating
that, I had probably saved her life.
She was a terror.
She wanted to bathe every day, but had to do that in the bathroom. We
settled on a long stick to transport her to and from her cage for her
morning bath. She ate constantly and the feathers fell like rain. She
shortly molted into a fluorescent red that almost hurts the eyes.
One morning, about six months after she came to live with me, I was
taking her into the bathroom for the morning bath and she ran up the
stick onto my shoulder. She licked my face and rolled around on my
shoulder like a kitten. From that day forward she couldn't be held
enough. She enjoys being held and stroked and turned over on her back
and tickled. She spends a lot of time on her back; something I didn't
expect a bird to do. She plays with her toys (and in her eyes
everything is a toy) and sleeps on her back. The first time I saw her
sleeping that way, I screamed. I thought she had died!
Not long after she tamed herself, she uttered her first words, "Stop
it!" I was trying to teach her "Hello," but she obviously heard me
admonishing her more often. She plays rough sometimes, and when she
nips, I tell her to "stop it". Since then, she has picked up more
words. Her favorite is "Valentine". She creates her own words too like
Valababy, Birdentine, Babytine, Tinentine, etc. When people are
talking she just babbles and laughs as though she is taking part in
the conversation. When she was about six, she developed a very serious
lung infection. It required me to give her injections twice a day for
ten days. I don't know who hated them worse. Poor bird, when I would be
dabbing antiseptic on the area to be injected, she would shriek, "No
bite, no bite!" That is what I would yell when she was still new and
would really latch onto me. She never said that phrase before the
injections and has never said them since. Bird brains indeed.
She is rarely locked in her cage and has plenty of levels and
cardboard boxed to explore and eventually destroy. She is really a
sweet and wonderful companion. Due to her diet of vegetables, fruit,
sprouts and juices, housekeeping is a little more involved with her
than most birds, but when she cuddles under my chin, and says, "Love
you, bird," it's really no chore at all.
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