I inherited Crash from the daughter’s best friend in 2007.

He’d never been robust – she had to save him from the other birds in the aviary when he was little.

Not too long after Crash came here to live he got really sick.

I hate it when animals get sick – but a sick bird is a nightmare.

Crash lost a lot of weight, and his breathing was very irregular. His colour seemed almost to drain out of his feathers.

I spent a lot of time with him at the vets – he had a respiratory infection. No matter what we tried he was not getting any better.

Have you ever seen a wee bird have to get injections? It is horrible.

Luckily the daughter’s BFF knew a local bird authority, so off I went to her.

She was not very encouraging – he really was so sick. But I don’t give up easily and we set about trying to get Crash back on his feet.

I left with a mash to feed him (used for expectant bird mummies, and the very young), plus multivitamin powder, pro-biotic powder, and glucose to mix in with it.

At home, Crash came out of his cage and went into a box we had put together for him. Crash was expending too much energy trying to keep warm, due to his weight loss, that he wasn’t left enough to get better.

We made a makeshift perch out of a tea-tree branch. This was in case we could get him to nibble on it.

A miniature hot water bottle (courtesy of the bird expert) went in and he was placed on it. Every few hours I would have to replace the contents so that he maintained an even temperature.

Whenever I replaced the hot water bottle I would sit with him and spoon feed him some of the mash.

Each night the alarm would be set, and reset, so that I did not sleep through and miss doing the rounds.

For weeks we kept to this routine. Friends told me I was nuts. Well – some friends did. After all ‘it is just a bird’.

Slowly he began to breathe easier. It took a long time, but eventually he even began to put on weight.

I am still very careful with the little man. In winter I make sure the room is kept at an even temperature, and he is nowhere where there is a possibility of a draught.

A weird thing has come out of it all.

Before he got sick crash was beginning to perch on the open door of his cage. He was getting ready to come out.

Now – I could leave the door open all month and he won’t go near it. He does not like it when I have to put my hand in it to changes his food.

I think he associates coming out with all the bad stuff from when he was sick. I keep trying to get him to come out – but as yet nothing seems to work.

I read on a site that a cockatiel’s cage should be sacrosanct and their haven, so stay out of it unless necessary.

Because of this I don’t like to try to get him out – but I really want to allow him to roam.

I’ve always hated birds being kept caged all the time.

I am considering whether to rehome Crash. Maybe someone new won’t be associated with all the bad memories. I am afraid though – to let him go to someone else in case he gets sick again, and they won’t put in the effort to get him better.

It is almost worse than having children.

When I go to another room I take him with me – cage and all. Crash is very vocal about being left alone. So where I go  – he goes. At night he comes into my room, until lights out.

So – Crash sleeps here as well as the two cats, the dog, and whatever room is left over for me.

It’s a hard life, being a sucker for animals.

One that I wouldn’t swap even if I could.


  1. Wow Jo, the word compassion is not even good enough to express how I felt after reading thiis. You an an incredible woman with a heart of gold! I hope with time, and maybe a treat just outside his door, he might venture out. I do not know enough about birds to opine. I am impressed Jo! I will buy you a plane ticket if you will come take care of me! 🙂 With Love, TheMsLvh


    1. I just get very attached to animals very quickly – I can’t just let nature do what it is intending I think a lot of the time. Us Aussie/Kiwis are too stubborn to give up. I have tried – putting it just outside, but he gives me a look as if to say HA, don’t be sooooo stupid woman !!! And well, I am a nurturer from way back – so of course I’d come look after you dear lady poet !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  2. That was a miracle you did there. Funny, I would think he would realize that you were his life saver. Handfeeding a small sick bird is a messy dificult business. Fear is such an immobilizer. Birds can be oh so mean to each other. Randomly picking one bird amongst themselves, they all gang up and try to peck him to death. Your story makes me glad for Crash. I did something similar once, but the ending was not as happy as yours.


    1. So sorry to hear that. I don’t have any luck with the wild birds I am afraid – though I try, and try. But I think someone was looking out for Crash and I when this happened.


    1. No – I have to hang the food container on the bars and put it up high so he doesn’t poop into it. I stay out as much as possible – he is getting calmer about me doing it – but I can sense the glare.


  3. I am sure Crash knows you are his savior and he just wants to be sure you are around ALWAYS. Thank goodness for people like you. Great story!


  4. I’ve never looked after a bird – that sounds like a labour of total love to me. I hope he stays well for a long long time to come 🙂


  5. You are a good mom! Poor Crash. I feel for him. I am also a sucker for animals and many of my friends think I’m crazy. But animals are so special. I hope he recovers completely and leaves his cage.


    1. He’s good now – though I think he will always be frail – if I compare him with other birds. Or maybe that is just me being a worry-wart. 🙂


      1. I love that you carry his cage. He’s lucky to have you. My boys, dog and cat, are usually with me. And my dog loves to share the bed, and I mean he likes to hog the entire bed and I make do.


        1. Know that well. My Chevvy is a hogger (the dog). Chalrie (my youngest cat) sleeps either on top of me or in the crook of my arm under the duvet. Jack (the oldest cat) lays across my feet. Good times.


          1. LOL…my cat sleeps on the bed, but in a corner. Sounds like I have more room than you. Don’t you just love animals.


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