Abby and Sassy are two cockatiels we inherited in 1991 from our neighbors who were well intentioned bird owners. Abby is predominately yellow and was the first to be trusted to our good care. Because of her poor manners when it came to observing peace and quiet, her owners were more than happy to give her up. Without a word in her vocabulary, and no ability to carry a tune, Abby's only true talent was squawking and eating. Within several months we were asked if we would like to have Sassy and we gladly accepted. By this time, Abby had already mellowed considerably but couldn't be happier after being reunited with her old time companion Sassy. For this reason we like to refer to them as an inseparable pair.
Sassy is predominately gray and appears to be the leader; where Sassy goes, Abby will follow. Sassy knows a few words, sings like a nightingale, and enjoys human interaction more than Abby. We still have not been able to determine their sex, but whatever it is they sure seem to be happy together. Their diet consists of wooden picture frames, lamp shades, and occasionally they eat the seeds from their food bowl.
Filing Flight Plans:
Initially we cropped the wings of both birds to help maintain order and allow the birds to join us outdoors without being inhibited by their cage. This worked out fine for many months but required close attention because their flight feathers seem to sprout overnight. On one such occasion, Liz walked into the garage with Sassy on her shoulder. Before I could tell her to get the bird back into the house, Sassy lifted off and flew away. Because no flight plan had been filed, we had no clue where to begin looking. The only facts were that pet cockatiels don't survive long in the wild and sunset was two hours away.
About an hour into our search, I heard a familiar song coming from the rooftop. Much to my surprise Sassy had returned home and was cheerfully singing from the peak of the roof. With no time to waste, I climbed the side of the house onto the roof and slowly made my way to the bird. Sassy remained still as I picked her up and returned willingly to her cage. It was so good to have her back home.
We no longer crop their feathers and they are free to fly around the house for exercise. For the most part, they remain near their cage and are seldom bothered by their feline companions. Once in a while Gus will show interest and visit their cage, but Abby and Sassy stand their ground and don't give in. Eventually, Gus will lose interest and move on. More bizarre are the times when Sassy flies over to visit Gus while he's resting on his chair.
Farewell to Abby:
Early Monday, August 20, 2005 Abby passed away shortly after becoming ill. She was treated at the VCA Emergency Animal Hospital, in guarded condition for overnight care, until she could be examined by our regular veterinarian the following day. Abby managed to hang on until the early morning hours until she passed away around 0030 in the morning. Her companion, Sassy, will hopefully adjust to the loss of her good friend and continue to bring us happiness. We will surely miss Abby; we hope you have a pleasant journey.