View Full Version : A Sweet Story for you Bird Lovers

07-28-2003, 06:38 AM
by Clara Wersterfer

My co-workers and I were busily checking email and organizing for a
beautiful Texas morning of work when we heard loud chirping from an
obviously very irritated or scared bird.
Shortly, our "bird hunt" revealed a little fellow stuck behind the
heating unit vent. We took turns trying to reach him -- unsuccessfully.
We appealed to our neighbor with longer arms in the next office to
help with the rescue mission. When he tenderly placed the tiny bird in my
hands, it was love at first sight!
He was pathetically naked, except for a thread of down on his back and
a layer of dust. The large yellow mouth comically covered most of his head
and black eyes stared trustingly into mine.
Joy filled my heart and... our home.
I almost cried to think his life was, literally, in my hands. I knew
absolutely nothing about caring for birds. I'd read someplace that baby
birds eat constantly, so food was first on the agenda. The pet section of
our local grocer offered bird seed and not much else. Instinctively
knowing he wasn't ready for solid food, I bought jars of strained baby food
and parakeet gravel. Mixing a bit of this together and using my pinky, I
pushed the mixture gently into the rear of his mouth. He gobbled up the
makeshift meal like I was his mother bird, stopped his incessant squawking,
and went to sleep.
Hourly feedings got us through the first day and kept him fairly
quiet. Thereafter, until he was able to eat on his own, we went to work
together. Experimenting, I offered him tidbits of food until I discovered
his favorites -- grapes, chicken, hardboiled egg and cornbread were top
ranked and eaten with gusto.
We had no idea what kind of bird he was. His feathers were mostly
brown at first, then getting darker until finally, the unmistakable
iridescent, black spotted plumage identified him as a European Starling.
Joy stayed in a cage during the day, but evenings he was allowed to
fly about the house. Perching on our heads, shoulders, or the arm of a
chair, he'd watch TV and cock his head from side to side, screeching like
an owl during noisy action scenes. Our two old poodles tried to ignore
him, but he would swoop down, land on their backs, and search through their
fur for tidbits. Joy's antics amused us for hours.
One evening the most delightful thing happened.
As I let him out of the cage for his evening routine, I greeted him as
usual. Not believing my ears, I called to my husband, "David, please come
hear this. Joy can talk!"
When David came in the room, our talented bird said plainly in my
voice, "I love you, Joy," "Give me a kiss," followed quickly by "Joy's a
pretty bird." The little rascal, mimicking me, repeated all the phrases
I'd said to him. He even laughed like me! Next night he asked, "Where's
the monster?" This seemed to be his favorite expression as he frequently
inquired about the monster. I'd never said this to him, so he must have
picked it up from some "scary" movie we'd watched together. Out of
curiosity, I put a tape recorder in his room when we were away. He talked
One night I heard a different sound. Looking around, I discovered him
taking a bath in our aquarium! Needless to say, he got his own bathtub the
next day. He enjoyed his daily baths, splashing water everywhere until we
bought him his own aquarium. (He'd had the right idea after all.) Besides
his tub, we placed some pots of grass inside. He enjoyed snacking on it,
plus he kept it well-watered as he shook his feathers to dry off.
Each night before retiring, I'd say "Good night, Joy" and he'd repeat
the words back. One night he didn't respond. Something had to be wrong!
Joy was on the bottom of his cage struggling to breathe. We rushed Joy to
the vet's office, but he couldn't save him from an infection. Wrapped in a
soft, warm towel, he died cradled in the palm of my hands. The voice of my
beautiful little bird was stilled.
For six years, this wonderful, handful of iridescent feathers had
enriched and blessed our lives. I like to think he is flying high above
the Rainbow Bridge, dive bombing all the pets waiting there for us and
yelling, "Joy is a pretty bird." Or "Where are the monsters?" and "I love
you Joy."

-- Clara Wersterfer <cbwest @ webtv.net>

07-28-2003, 08:19 AM
Oh, Anna, I read that Petwarmer this morning, and it just about made me cry. How sweet!! And that Starling could not have been saved by anyone but an individual like this as they are an unwanted species in the US. What a sweet, sweet bird!!! :)

07-28-2003, 11:29 AM
Aww what a sweet story! I hope you never forget her! (I hope that sounds nice..

07-28-2003, 12:30 PM
I don't have birds, but I was thisclose to crying. :)

07-28-2003, 12:52 PM
Awwww, what a tear jerker! I was crying at the end. :( But what a lovely story, thanks for sharing. :)

07-28-2003, 01:10 PM
That is a very beautiful story.