Ah, our three Zebra Finches. Lessons learned here abound.
First, when one of your kid’s friends offers you something for nothing, be afraid. Be very afraid. Second, when one of your own kids passionately indicates to you they will also passionately care and feed for said free item, that declaration should simply re-emphasize Point Number One (see first sentence). Third, little birds like these apparently live forever. We expect them to be here long after the current crop of cats and our dandy dog climb that stairway to heaven — think archeological epochs rather than pet lifetimes. Fourth, the sum total of their daily activity does essentially consist of eating, bathing, pooping, and fighting — sometimes concurrently. They are a mess.
But rather than complain about the devil birds, I consider them a happy part of my day. Why? Because every morning I see a side of them no one else does. Since I routinely rise early (more due to an inability to sleep in anymore than an actual desire to get up at the crack of dawn), I am always the first person the finches see. Before undraping their cages, I carefully wait until daylight peeks over the hills to the east of us. I think waiting for the light is more in line with their natural circadian rhythms, but that is probably a fairly bogus assumption on my part. Having said that, each daily reveal launches a finch honk riot. They honk (yep, that’s the best way to describe their chirps) and flit all over their cages. To me, they seem to be conveying a hearty, birdy hello — a sort of avian thanks to me for, once again, eliminating the darkness and allowing them to eat, bathe, poop, and fight to their tiny hearts’ content. That’s the way it appears. On the other hand, could be they are just psyched about being able to see their food and water dishes again. I don’t know.
Despite information posted elsewhere in this blog, I know of only one name having ever been assigned to any of them. It’s Lazarus. (Warning: it’s a sad story and you’ll think less of me at the end of it.) Here goes. One warm summer a couple of years ago, we accidentally left the finch cage outside overnight. The following morning, we realized what happened and ran to the patio to discover one bird completely missing — well, some parts were left behind; two other birds perfectly fine; and the third and (now) last remaining bird injured badly. He had a broken leg, and had been roughed up quite a bit. Seems a raccoon or opossum had squeezed a paw into the cage. He (or she) managed to grab one of the finches, but couldn’t wrap up a second. Fortunately, we knew a bird rehab/rescue lady close by, and ran our injured charge over to her quickly. She took one look and said the prognosis was poor. We gave her some
guilt rehab money and thought we would never see the little finch again. To our surprise, two weeks later he was back in his home cage, a little worse for wear, but in pretty good shape, actually. In our minds, he had literally come back from the near-dead, hence the name.
The real transgressions of the finches? They are not tidy; their vocalizations annoy everyone in the house except me, it seems; they sling seed husks hither and yon; and they aren’t cuddly. To be honest, at various times those descriptions could apply to almost any living thing in our house. But the finches — to me, they are okay.
Finally, paranormal activity in our house really does consist of a couple of spirits that we occasionally hear upstairs (and see downstairs), and our Matriarch Cat. She’s the only true devil around here — she just looks cuddly in the photo above. I’ve got the scars to prove that looks are deceiving.