Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Hello, Dolly!

A belated introduction...

This is the most recent addition to our family:

Isn't she adorable?!? Her name (which I finally chose within the last 2 weeks) is Dolly, though mostly we just call her Little Bird, which was her "interim" name that I chose when we weren't sure if she would be staying with us.

As tends to be the case in my life, she is a rescue. My mother found her by the side of the road back in September, and since she and dad couldn't take her (quarantine issues with their own birds) I offered to. I needed/wanted something to distract and console me after losing Doe, and - as usual - the universe delivered! Mom ran a "found" ad in the paper, and a few people responded, but none turned out to be her owners. And as she settled in and I got to know her, I became (and remain) convinced that she was never hand-tamed and was probably never anyone's "pet". She's fine with people in terms of proximity (I can stand right next to her and put my face right up to her and she's totally cool with it), but she does *not* like hands. Even now if she flies around and lands somewhere she shouldn't, she'd rather step up on my arm than my hand. She was also almost completely bald (we figure due to the stress of outdoor living, or possibly other birds picking on her either out there or in her original home), and we have no clue how old she is or how long she was in the wild.

Because of all that, I'm taking things especially slowly with Dolly. As I said, she's fine with people being near her - she just doesn't trust hands. She definitely likes having us around and listening to us talk. And she chirps her head off on the weekends if Chris gets her up and I don't make an appearance quickly! I get up earlier on the weekends now than weekdays because Chris gets up before I do, and she's a highly effective alarm clock! Thanksgiving day was great, because she flew and landed on the little table next to where I sit on the sofa. I guided her over and she climbed onto my leg, and then sat there happily for a good 30 minutes! I was tickled pink! And the next day she sat on my arm for 10 - 15 minutes, though we were right in front of her cage and she could have gone back to it at any time. So we're making some slow progress. I'd rather she make the decision to come see me than force her to move faster than she wants. She's calm and happy, and that's enough for me. If she wants to be my friend at some point, so much the better!

As you can see in the picture, her head feathers have grown back in almost completely. She has put on weight and gone from "starvation mode" (eating everything) to flinging out that in her food bowls which does not please her! For the first few weeks she was here, she also didn't seem to understand what toys were, or what they were for. I tried a bunch of different ones, and she eventually discovered the fun of playing, and shows a definite preference for hanging toys with little plastic chains for her to fiddle with and balsa to chomp. This is her current setup of cage and playgym, which she really seems to like:

She also likes to play with her ladders (read: disconnect them and fling them to the floor), regardless of whether she is currently standing on them or not! She's taken a couple spills that way.

The best part about her (*knock on wood*) in terms of joining our household is that she is quiet! She chirps a bit when she gets up - especially if I'm not there and her "flock" is therefore incomplete - but for the most part, she's almost totally silent. Just a chirp or a whistle every once in a while. For a bird this is almost unheard-of. I'd be worried, if she wasn't so active and clearly happy and secure. But all her body language says she feels safe and calm and relaxed, and she does lots of climbing (and a little flying, despite her clipped wings) and playing and eating. So apparently we just lucked out that she's not very vocal! And I guess I could say that she did too - goodness knows we spoil our critters rotten, and if she was noisy we would have had to find her a new home so she would have missed out on the good life :~D

I finally chose her name after poking around baby name websites for the past few months. I don't remember how I came across "Dolly", but I saw that it is a variant of "Dorothy", which means "gift of God". And since I really feel like she was a gift, at a time when I absolutely needed one, I went with it. So that's our new baby!


Kyahgirl said...

Welcome Dolly! That was a great story T and I think Dolly is one very lucky bird. If I had to be reincarnated as an animal I'd like to be one of yours!

Happy holidays to you and yours,
love and hugs,

Trina said...

Thanks, sweetie! Not that I want you to reincarnate any time soon, but should you re-enter that cycle, I would be thrilled to have you :~D