First and foremost, there is Chip.
Chip is a house sparrow that was brought to me as a newly hatched orphan. The tree his nest was in got cut down, and a kind soul found him and brought him to the local "bird lady" to take care of. I hand fed him, and eventually he grew up enough to be on his own...only he never left. After he fledged, he lived outside for awhile but still came to us in the evenings for supplemental food (as young birds raised in captivity will do). The crazy thing about Chip was, he never quit coming to us for attention....long after he should have disappeared into the wild. He would fly down to our shoulders when we got home from work, and we would allow him to come into the house to sleep at night. Eventually it got to be winter, and Chip didn't want to go outside anymore, and after that winter was over, we had a permanent house guest. He's never wanted to leave since, and we don't know if he would make it outdoors after all these years of being taken care of.
|Baby Chip, 2006|
Today Chip lives in a spare bedroom in our current house. There is a large ficus tree in there, as well as some houseplants, and a window that looks out onto the bird feeders in our backyard. We let Chip fly free in there; we keep newspaper down on the floor for easy cleanup, and he as an open cage for sleeping and to hold his food and water dish. He loves perching in the ficus and watching the birds at the feeder outside. He's a sweet little guy that loves people food as treats, especially bread. Chip lives the good life.
|All grown up!|
Around the time we got Chip, my soft hearted husband brought home a young zebra finch from his pet store that was being mistreated by the other birds. She was too young to fight for her share of the food, and for some reason she would sometimes fall down, end up on her back, and then would be unable to right herself. She came to live with us, and soon was a healthy, happy girl. She keeps Chip company. We call her Peeps:
Peeps flies free in the "bird room" with Chip. They get along great, which is surprising considering how different they are. Their instincts to live as part of a flock have made them friends despite the differences. We've had both of these birds for years now.
Last month, a third small bird came to live with us. Once again, there was a baby zebra finch at the pet store that needed help. This time it was a little male, and somehow he either lost (or never had) one of his legs. GB couldn't stand to see him trying to survive in a crowded cage at the store, and obviously no one wants to buy a one-legged finch. So this little guy came to join Chip and Peeps in the bird room. We call him Pogo (get it?).
Pogo is doing quite well, and is getting fat and sassy! Since he was small and weak at first (and only has the one leg) we decided to keep him in a cage for awhile to be sure there wouldn't be any trouble with the others. Also, despite his having one leg, we're afraid that he might be able to breed with Peeps, and the last thing we need is more finches! So for now at least he lives in a cage in the room where Chip and Peeps are allowed to fly free. His cage is placed to allow a great view of the bird feeders outside the window, and is roomy and clean. Peeps and Chip often perch on top of his cage, or beside him in the ficus tree, and they all chatter to each other. They are a happy little group.
Part of the reason we keep the little birds in their own room is to ensure that there is no trouble with Marco. Marco likes them, though, and will sometimes call out, "Chip! Peeps! Whatcha' doin'?" Occasionally he will fly into their room to see what they're up to, but we keep a close eye on any interaction between them. A medium size parrot could hurt little birds without even meaning to.
So that's the rest of the flock! Everyone has heard of crazy cat ladies. I guess I'm a crazy bird lady!