Last night we lost our little pet budgie, Goldwing, who passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. This has naturally been a jarring, very sad experience.
While losing a pet is upsetting (at least for those of us who really care), if we’ve been able to make a connection with him or her, it is harder. When it happens without warning, the impact is more sever. The bird was only about six years old, about half of its expected life cycle.
I know that some may not consider the death of a bird on par with losing a cat or dog, or some other favoured four-footed animal. Due to their less constrained mobility, and thus opportunity for greater physical interaction, such deaths may be deemed deeper to endure.
But when a less prominent, and oftentimes less likely, species clearly establishes a bond with you it can be just as hard to lose this friendship. With Goldwing, a beautifully coloured, mainly yellow-feathered creature, there was a strong two-fold connection: verbally, as it was able to repeat a few words clearly (especially “Pretty birdie!”) as well as mimic other sounds with me; and physically, as it would fly to my hand and run up my arm, often gently pecking at my features, frequently looking directly at my eyes, like a dog would do. This level of connection with birds is far from automatic. Although compared with other small birds budgies are more outgoing and more readily exhibit personality, establishing a close bond with one takes time and patience, and trust on the part of the feathered friend (which of course is counter to their natural flighty demeanour).
It’s hard to realize that the friendly chirp is gone, when one returns home and normally hears the greeting. It’s hard to know that its playful, sometimes slightly raucous, response to attention is no more.
Goodbye, little friend. You are truly missed.
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