Thomas and Daphne have never had a great relationship. There was no animosity; they just pretty much co-existed. She's extremely tame and would always step up for him, but she didn't seek out his attention (as she does mine) and he never really made an effort with her.
Our previous budgie, Ethel, was an amazing bird, and Thomas's constant companion. They had an incredible bond. I've heard dog people talk about a heart-dog -- that one dog that was more special to them than all of the others they've had. Of course they love all of their dogs, but there's one that rises above the others, even decades after they're gone. Ethel was Thomas's heart-bird.
After Ethel died, I could not stand how quiet is was in the house without budgie chatter. Thomas didn't want to get another budgie, fearing I was trying to replace Ethel, which of course could never happen. I didn't want to rush anything and thought we'd process through more of the grieving process before adding another budgie. And then Daphne, a failed breeder who loved people, needed a home. Thomas wasn't enthusiastic about adding another budgie only 6 weeks or so after losing Ethel, but he acquiesced.However, I think he hardened his heart, in part of the pain that losing Ethel caused. Budgies have a pretty short lifespan when compared to the larger parrots.
But he's been opening up to her lately, which makes me so happy. Last night, Thomas and I were on the couch. I was holding Daphne. I had to get up for a minute. I asked him if he'd mind holding her so I didn't have to put her in her cage. He said yes, and they played a bit until I got back.
Later that evening, Thomas and I were in the kitchen. Daphne was on the counter. He walked out of the room, and she flew after him! She so rarely flies with volition, so this was unexpected. The fact that she flew after him made this feel like a double victory! I went over to pick her up off of the floor (she hadn't quite made it all the way to Thomas) but Thomas beat me to her and said he'd take her with him.
I am so excited about this blossoming relationship, especially as I hope that means the pain of losing Ethel is fading for him. Yet still I have tears welling in my eyes as I think about Ethel. She was one special being and I suspect we'll miss her incredibly for the rest of our lives.