Saturday, April 1, 2017

Found Drawing

Several years ago two zebra finches came into our lives.  They belonged to Mrs. H and were the last of twenty some zebra finches that populated her home almost twenty years ago.  When Mrs. H became ill and had to move into assisted living, the bird population was down to two.   When they lived with Mrs. H, they had the run of the house and followed her from room to room.  They mated and laid eggs, which in time Mrs. H had to collect and replace with marbles, which is why the population dwindled to two.  Another reason was that when they followed Mrs. H around the house as a large group, they flew in formation and the ones at the rear were lifted, via aerodynamics, higher than the door frame and broke their little necks. 

Barry volunteered to give the two remaining birds a good home.  We named them Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee because they tweedled the same sound all day.  Within a few months one of the birds died leaving the surviving bird very depressed.   Zebra finches are very social with each other and not at  all inclined to socialization with humans the way parakeets do.  In an effort to perk him up we left the cage door open and put a pedestal saucer of water nearby for him to drink or bath in.  It wasn't long before he started using it, which inspired me to get a miniature bird bath and a small table-top fountain.  He started taking showers.  A friend suggested we leave toilet paper or tissues in the cage--that he would use them as cover in his sleeping basket on chilly nights.  He loved the tissues and would make a great fuss at night arranging them just so. If he got warm he would throw them out.  She also suggested leaving clippings of thyme, lavender and other herbs, small twigs, etc. around the house.  This bird was sharp---as soon as I put those things around, he started collecting them and using them to build nests in the houseplants.  In good weather we took him and his cage out to the screened porch.  From the ledge of the screens, he would try to attract the garden birds.  Fledglings would often perch on the opposite side of the screen and communicate with him.  Adult birds ignored him.  

Tweedle Dee loved classical music and Mozart's opera, The Magic Flute, in particular.  He did not care for Barry's piano playing and would fly up on the  piano trying to distract and dissuade him from further playing.  That bird gave us so many smiles and so much laughter.  It all came rushing back when I found the drawing during the big studio cleanup. Then I dug out some of the photos I made.  There are more around here somewhere.

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