Sunday, November 11, 2012

RIP Rodan

Rodan, July 2004-November 2012

Yesterday when Greenturtle and I got home from an unsuccessful trip looking for the varied thrush recently seen at the Morton Arboretum, we discovered that one of our own birds, a Maximillian's pionus parrot named Rodan (or Dan, as I liked to call him), had passed away.

It was not a surprise. He had been sick for a while, and despite a trip to the U of I Veterinary School's small animal clinic, and some blood work and radiology, we still had no idea what was wrong with him. It sounded like what happened to the author's favorite parrot in The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, with progressive weakness in the legs, although no one could give us a diagnosis.

We purchased Dan from a pet store about six years ago, because he had been there forever and no one wanted him, so I felt sorry for him. I already had some cockatiels so I wanted to give him a nice home. He really only bonded with my husband (that bird bit me more than once), but he did have many cute little quirks, such as whistling and warbling excitedly when we came home, or hanging upside down in his cage and begging for a bath whenever he heard the vacuum cleaner. When he was upset about something, he would make a noise that sounded like an old-fashioned radio searching for a station.

Dan taught me a lot, too. For one thing, although we gave him a good home, I now believe that, in most cases, people should not keep parrots as pets. Certainly birds as intelligent, emotional and difficult as a parrot should not be for sale in a pet store! (My cockatiels, on the other hand, are ten years old and still thriving.) My one consolation is that Dan was hatched and raised in Illinois; taking a bird like that from the wild would be unforgivable. (Also illegal, but it still happens.)

A very special bird
Only as I sit and remember how happy, active and inquisitive Dan seemed during the "good times" do I realize how much his illness had taken out of him. I don't pretend to have knowledge of the afterlife of birds, but I can only hope that he is now in a better place, perhaps flying free with a flock of his own kind as he should have, or maybe he would prefer someone's shoulder to perch on.

RIP, Rodan. I'm sorry we didn't know enough to make you better. You really were a special bird.

1 comment:

  1. It hurts so much to lose a special friend like Rodan! I'm postivite that he is in a better place now, flying free and happy, and that you'll get to be with him again. RIP indeed, Rodan. He made me laugh a lot whenever I "babysat" him; what a character he was! MOM