Spring 1989 - Nov 19, 1998
This page is dedicated to a very much missed and loved bird. Her name was Monster. I know, what a horrible name. At the time that she got it it didn't seem so. She was hatched sometime in April of 1989. I purchased her at a bird expo at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. She was about 3 weeks old and probably the ugliest thing I had ever seen in my life! And it was love at first sight!
When Ringnecks are this age all they want to do is find a dark place and sleep. It happened to be the crook of my arm as I spoke with the breeder. I had handfed Tiels and a conure, but never one this young. I got her and more handfeeding formula and headed home. She slept in a little carrying cage next to my bed at night and on the corner of my desk during the day. We would get up at about 5 in the morning to be fed. Then back in the carrier while I got myself ready for work. Then we would drive to the BART station for an hour ride into the city. She would ride in the carrier inside a duffle bag. Then we would walk about a mile to the office. There she would come out of the bag and the carrier and sit on my desk. Letting me know when she was hungry if I was slow getting her fed. Then the same thing in reverse on the way home each night. I think this early traveling had a lot to do with the way she was later in life. When she finally got to where she was old enough to start crawling all over my desk she stayed home in a cage during the day.
One of her favorite toys as a baby was a pink milk cap. She did everything with this for about 6 months! She ate, slept, bathed and played with that cap. If I wanted her to do something all I had to do was take her milk cap and she would do anything to get it back! She also played with cat balls, chains and all the other normal bird toys, but that was her favorite for quite awhile. Anyway, She also acquired her name about this same time. Ringnecks go thru a "teenage" stage in their lives at about 6 months. The can turn in to little "monsters" at this time. They will destroy anything that they know they shouldn't, they will climb, chew, bite and any other thing that is wrong. At the time no one had told me anything about this! I was convinced she was a monster. So the name. Thank god I was wrong. It did last quite a while, about 6 months. I didn't realize it had been that long or bad until I raised a few more Ringnecks later. She was one of the worst I have ever seen during that time. But, it was well worth it she turned out to be the love of my life.
As she got older I acquired more birds and she took it all in stride. She always remained my little girl. She went from living on a cage by herself to living in a whole room with a 6 x 6 x 6 playpen in the center with a varying number and variety of other birds. She was always the undisputed ruler of all. Although she wouldn't push the issue. I don't remember her ever hurting anyone.
When she was about 2 years old she matured and every spring we would go through the mating routine. In the Ringnecks, in fact in most of the Psittacula species the female is the one that wears the pants. She is the one that tells the males when they'll mate, where the nest will be and so on. So with that in mind imagine what it was like in my house in the spring! She already saw me as her mate, so she would try to bully me around. Needless to say we clashed at these time often. I have to admit that this was about the only time she would bite me and mean it! Most of the time all I would need to do is tell her "no!" and kiss to her and it would be over. The only other person she ever bit in her life was my ex – husband, he deserved it. He had been teasing her in her box and bent down to do something and she jumped out of the box and bit him on the ear (did she know something I didn't back then?).
We would often go to the local Mall and do some window shopping. I would get so into what I was doing that I wouldn't see the kids following me around the store. Then she would start to climb down my back to get to the kids. She was always very friendly to strangers. She would give them kisses, lay on her back and roll over for almost anyone. She went to many schools as show and tell for the kids in the neighborhood. She would also go along with a few babies and myself to schools. She was always the main attraction though.
She was also potty trained. She did it herself. I didn't even realize she was until some asked me why I wasn't carrying a towel or something to wipe up droppings with. She was only about 6 months old at this time. She had just learned that I didn't like it and she would hold it. When she really had to go she would start to pull on my ear or hang off of my shirt to get my attention. Then I would hold her over something that was OK for her to poop on and she would go. She made mistakes now and then but so does a well trained dog. Most of them were my fault as I would not be paying attention and she couldn't hold it any longer.
When she was 8 I went though a divorce. We moved out of the house that had been her home for 7 years. She didn't do well during this time. I was a rough time for both of us. But, we had each other. She didn't like being in a cage for a long time, remember she had a whole room before. She started screaming a lot. We worked our way though that and then spring hit again. What timing! This time she decided she wanted to be a mother. I had put her with several males before and she had rejected them. This time she liked one! So I moved her to an outside cage with a male and a nest box. She laid a clutch of 4 eggs. They were all infertile. I left her with the eggs and the male for a while. About 2 months later, it was very late season, she decided to lay again. She had been in the nest box for a few days. I knew she was going to lay. Two days after my birthday I came home late. I went outside to feed. As I was doing my rounds I noticed that she didn't come out of her box to greet me as she normally would. I knew something was wrong. I went to her box and opened it. She was leaning against the back wall of the box. I gently picked her up and realized she was already dead. She had become egg bound and had just died.
It was probably one of the worst things that ever happened to me – losing her. She is now buried in the back yard under fruit trees and flowers with a statue of St Francis, the patron saint of birds marking her grave. It has been over 2 years and I still think of her all the time. Just recently I was finally able to put a photo of her on my desk with out bursting into tears. Even typing this has taken me hours because I have to stop and wipe the tears. She will always be in my heart and my prayers. I hope that she has found my Grandmother and that they are both in heaven waiting for me to join them.
Take good care of each other. Amen.
The Rainbow Bridge
There is a bridge connecting Heaven and Earth. It is called the Rainbow Bridge because of it's many colors. Just this side of the Rainbow Bridge there is a land of meadows, hills and valley with lush green grass.
When a beloved pet dies, the pet goes to this place. There is always food and water and warm spring weather. The old and frail animals are young again. Those who are maimed are made whole again. They play all day with each other.
There is only one thing missing. They are not with their special person who loved them on Earth. So, each day they run and play until the day comes when one suddenly stops playing and looks up! The nose twitches! The ears are up! The eyes are staring! And this one suddenly runs from the group!
You have been seen, and when you and your special friend meet, you take him or her in your arms and embrace. Your face is kissed again and again and again, and you look once more into the eyes of your trusting pet.
Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together, never again to be separated.
"...Grieve not, Nor speak of me with tears, but laugh and talk of me as if I were beside you...I loved you so --'twas Heaven here with you."
-Isla Paschal Richardson
"Enjoy having loved another creature enough for his death to matter. That's truly what it's all about. - Susan G. Friedman."