Bird Flu

Scene: I’m pulling on my pantalones in a hurry over very, very, stiff legs. I’ve just finished my first half marathon. I’ve got about 15 minutes before I start the campus tour with my cousin who’s visiting the area and I’m still just trying to get my eyes to track together from over-exercising. I take my five minutes to sit on the edge of the couch and relax.

I hear a pitter-patter of tiny bird feet running down the length of my kitchen island. I look up to see my bird, feathers erect, emitting one loud and paranoid squawk before running back in the other direction. Birds don’t run. They either fly or they perch, but they rarely run. I am immediately alarmed.
I get up and go over to her cage, only to find about 3-4 small piles of an oatmeal-like concoction on the counter. Hmmm. This couldn’t have come from her behind could it? I look at her closely and watch her do a bizarre pumping motion with her neck, with a small chunk of substance flying out of her beak at the end of each ritualistic pump. Oh my gosh! She’s puking! And what’s worse, I don’t have time for it.
What comes next is the most natural thing…I ask Bryan to help. He takes the bird in his arm (loose) and a ziplock of ‘samples’ and heads off to the animal hospital in race-day traffic. When he gets there, they have a wait and say they’ll keep her in a box that forces her tail in the wrong direction. She makes it known that she’s freaking out and won’t fit. Bryan has to come back to my apartment, put the whole cage in the car and bring it back to the vet.
4 hours later I receive a call to come and collect my bird. Her diagnosis: she has been overfed or she overate in some capacity. Must have been the four penne pasta wheat noodles from last night. The number one killer of cockatiels= obesity. My mom has since bought me a bird magazine so I can be well-informed as to how to keep my pets alive.

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