Pet of the Day

November 2, 2002

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Stella, the Pet of the Day
Name: Stella
Age: Three and a half years old
Gender: Male
Kind: Whiteface cockatiel
Home: Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
 
   Stella is a native New Yorker, temporarily living in Cambridge, MA. Stella was born in a West Village bird shop, where she was picked on by the other cockatiels. She was adopted by my friend as the companion to a rather possessive peachface lovebird with certain social problems; the lovebird plucked out all her poor tail feathers and called her nasty names. My friend felt terrible that Stella was having such a hard time, and suggested I adopt her. Initially we weren't sure what to make of each other- I had never had a bird, and she had never had a girl. We spent a lot of time hanging out, eating house plants, and watching TV with her on my toe. That was three years ago. Since then, Stella has blossomed into quite the prima dona! Her favorite things are: scrambled eggs, listening to old Madonna albums, talking to car alarms, sitting on our heads while we make dinner, admiring her beautiful self in the hall mirror, sneaking into the living room to sit on the mirror over the fireplace (which she knows she's not supposed to do, and which she does just to get attention from her dad), and washing under her wings in the shower.

    When she was born her friends at the bird store sexed her as female. So we named her Stella, which suited her (at the time) timid, dainty character. Then one day last year I was reading about whiteface mutation on National Cockatiel Society (since Stella moved in with me I have become a bird dork), and discovered that females don't have solid white masks and do have bar markings on the underside of the tail. I looked over at Miss Priss - completely white face, no bars under the tail. Hmmmmm.... We decided that after three years there was no reason to change Stella's name (or gender references) now. Perhaps one day she will lay an egg, just to keep us guessing.

    Never would I have guessed that there would be this many soft gray feathers and little spots of bird poop in my life - but Stella is quite a character, inquisitive, intelligent, fond of James Bond movies, disdainful of subpar toys, and an overall terrific companion animal.
 

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