In a flurry

A flurry of an avian nature has settled in our home. But, the words “flurry” and “settled” seem contradictory. My finch, Pip, is anything but drab gray in movement. Oh, she sports a pale gray plumage, but she is certainly not dull by nature. I have always attributed the color gray with winter skies…and I do not care for winter. This serves as the only reason I need for my personal view of the inherent negative I see in that shade that’s not quite black and not yet white. Except for Pip. She extols the virtue of gray by setting it off with her bright orange beak.

Back to the flurry in the room. Tiny birds are capable of making quite a bit of noise. Pip flits back and forth from perch to cage floor and into her nest, something she repeats dozens of times a day. She sends the message, “See, I can fly!” Well, sort of. It isn’t really flying by the strictest definition. Not when she’s “flying” within the confines of her cage. My son has been known to say that birds are creatures of flight only to be caged and managed inside the bars. Sigh. Still, I enjoy this little marvel with wings. She squawks each morning and afternoon and then runs on mute mode for the remainder of the day. So, to sum it up, gray can be pleasing to the eye when it is backed with lots of energy. A welcome flurry.

Pip has a new neighbor in the form of the parakeet I just added to our family. Daisy (I can’t be certain it’s a girl, but I don’t care, a male parakeet can’t be offended…it can’t…parakeets aren’t thin-skinned) is a beautiful bird.  Among the 15 or so parakeets I spied in Petco, she was the only one with a combination of very pale blue & very pale yellow plumage.  Lovely.  Daisy is a bit skittish still but she is entertaing as she grabs her mirror with her beak to spin it.  She examines her beauty in her mirror on a daily basis.  And, best of all, her chirp is loud and clear, which translates: healthy.  Welcome Daisy.

Pip is gone.  She left us a few months ago.  When I did not hear any sounds coming from her cage, I suspected bad news.  I was right.  I checked her small bamboo nest and I found her still body.  Her eyes were closed and she was still warm.  What a sweet bird.  These days we speak of Pip in glowing terms. We miss her squawk and her flutter.  During the nearly three years she was with us, she laid a total of seven eggs.  Finches don’t care to be handled, we admired her on her own terms.   We miss you Pip.


IMG_0537Came to visit us one August afternoon. It came in the form of our home stay college student. Our twenty- year old visitor arrived on a two week “academic-tourist” contract. My part in the arrangement was to serve as ESL instructor clocking in with 15 hours a week of lessons. These lessons were a companion piece to home-cooked meals and a bedroom designated as the student’s temporary private space. We entertained him with a couple trips to San Francisco and visit to Sacramento. He shopped for his friends back home at the kitschy Fisherman’s Wharf. He rated his teacher (that’s me!) with an “Excellent” and the lessons, same. He was a bit strange. We enjoy our pool in the summertime, and when asked if he swims, he replied, “yes”… but never jumped in. We were regaled with his classic piano skills, on our nearly forgotten living room piano…just once for five minutes. And most astounding, he loves basketball, but shot a few hoops with my son for only a few moments. When I dropped him off at the airport and attempted to give him a hug goodbye, I was reminded of the western/eastern divide. I managed to brush his shoulder and that was it. He stood stiff and straight. I recall using my favorite fragrance that morning. Asian culture, I’m reminded, is not so demonstrative. Well, at least he enjoyed my scrambled eggs.

This is how she rolls

My 1/2 ounce , 4 inch long pet finch took a trip recently. An overseas visitor to our home is seriously allergic, to just about everything, but especially animals. So, I traveled to our vet clinic, birdcage in hand. I left Pip in the clinic for two weeks. I checked in on her periodically while our boarder breathed in the dander-free air of our home. Pip is a joy. She flits across the cage from perch to floor without a care in the world. She squawks often. Finches don’t seem to understand that a bird is to possess a melody. I am okay with that. When my allergic visitor took his place in our home, I looked at the place in our dining room that belongs to Pip and sighed. The things we do to accommodate humans. I doubt that Pip even noticed her change of residency in that two week period of time. She’s back. I missed her messy ways…seed and feathers decorate our floor. She’s where she belongs in our home.