I’m kind of behind with this blog. I’m meant to have a few additional posts up by now, but they just haven’t been at the front of my mind. So I get to this point where I’m upset and desperately need to process something, and with most people far, far away that’s not easy to do vocally,
Then I realised. This is my blog. If I want to write things out of order, then I’m gonna damn well write things out of order.
At Parrots in Paradise, there are over 400 birds. But for the majority of volunteers and workers, there’s a clear favourite. Her name is Barbara Strangleface.
She is a long billed corella, a species native to Central Australia, and one of the sweetest, gentlest, intelligent and adorable characters you’ve ever met. She came to the sanctuary via Australia Zoo, who couldn’t take her as she couldn’t fly (the reasons for this remain a mystery). They knew next to nothing about her, so Barbara’s age, health and history are nothing but guestimates.
Anyway, she clearly imprinted on humans because she adored being with you. She’d stick out a foot once you opened her cage, would allow you to cuddle her like a baby, crawled up to your shoulder at the first opportunity, and was even resourceful enough to open up her own cage and follow you around if you didn’t secure all the latches. Needless to say, everyone loved playing with her.
Last week, everything was going well for her too, as we’d recently received a male corella who we were kind of hoping would give her a life partner if they got along. However, a few days later, my hosts walked past her cage one morning to find her entire right side covered in blood.
No idea what happened, but emergency first aid was administered, and she was left to rest. But not 2 days later her side was covered in blood again. This time she was taken to the vet and her wing bandaged to her side to keep her from picking at the injury.
Sadly, the vets next appointment wasn’t a good one. He didn’t think this was just a simple cut. It could be a bone slicing into an artery, or a tumour. If it was, it was going to be far kinder to euthanise poor Barbara.
Yesterday, we all gave her a good luck cuddle and eased her into the carry case hoping for a best case scenario – it wasn’t.
She had broken a bone in the wing which was constantly cutting into an artery and causing constant damage and pain. Its inoperable, and the only real option available was euthanasia. Barbara Strangleface was put to sleep that afternoon.
I spent most of the day trying not to cry. She’s not the first death I’ve seen while here, and she may very well not be my last, but she was the first bird where I genuinely had a bond with her. This corella was everything you could ever want in a pet and more – if I’d had to take any bird home it would have been this girl, and if I ever get a large bird as a companion I’ll be looking for a corella. Eventually, I got a hold of some friends on messenger and sobbed my eyes out while talking about my feathery friend, and thank god that was an option because I don’t know how much longer I could have held it in – and becoming a wreck at work when my hosts, the ones who have known and cared for Barbara for nearly 2 years are handling it far more gracefully would have felt a little bit insulting.