Monday, February 11, 2008

RIP, Jeff Saturday

Jeff Saturday passed away over the weekend. Friday evening, Thomas noticed a tumor, which explained why Daphne had been picking at him -- trying to drive the unhealthy from the flock. When we went to bed Friday night, he was eating, chirping, and playing normally.

Saturday morning, he was huddled in the opposite side of his cage. I pulled him out and immediately knew that things were not well. I sat with him on the couch, pressed to my chest as I softly told him everything would be ok and preened the back of his neck. Thomas was preparing to rush him to the emergency vet; we knew most likely the only treatment would be euthanasia.

He didn't last that long. He died against my chest, enveloped in my hands. Once the ground thaws, we will bury him in the same area as our other deceased budgies, Lenny (2005) and Ethel (2006).

Jeff only lived with us for a little over two months, but we became quite attached to him in that short time. Daphne has been unusually quiet the past few days, and has been soliciting more attention from us than usual.

While I am happy that I was there to comfort him during his final moments, I wish we would have had more time with him, and I hope that he didn't suffer. I like to think he knew he was loved during the short time he spent in our house.


Anonymous said...

Oh, I'm so very sorry and sad! I had grown really fond of the plucky little green guy and always waited to hear about him from your various blogs. You gave Jeff Saturday the best kind of life he could have had (aside from being wild and free). Thank you for sharing - and caring so much. Your friend, Shannon

Mary said...


Thank you so much for your kind words. As more time passes (and I realize it's still only been a few days), I'm glad for the way it turned out in that I was able to comfort him as he died and say goodbye to him. We're still getting used to his absence -- it's amazing how he became such a part of our lives in only 2 months!

Grump Les Tiltskin said...

Poor Jeff.

I'm sure he knew he was loved.

Condolences from the home of the budgerigar.

Grump Les Tiltskin said...

I'm not obsessing or anything. Just thought this would help, Mary.

When we were living in Canberra, Australia's capital, my wife and I used to feed a flock of wild cockatoos via a hanging bird feeder.

Our favourite among the cockies was a little one we named 'Woo'.

When Woo first lobbed onto the feeder that hung on our front verandah, he was only just out of chickenhood, but already had a small black patch on his forehead.

As the months went by, the patch grew bigger and bigger, until about a third of his body was featherless. The poor thing had beak and feather disease which, aside from causing his feathers to fall, made his beak grow so long he could hardly feed.

The disease made him timid around the other healthy cockatoos too. But, as timid as he became among his fine feathered colleagues – who used to weigh down the branches of the "tree of birds" in our front yard while awaiting seed – Woo became very game around humans.

He was, in fact, the only one of dozens of parrots that used to land onto our verandah who'd (albeit gingerly) let us pat him.

One day, when about a third of his feathers had gone, Woo visited, then vanished.

"Hazel" and I were very sad. After a few weeks we reckoned we'd seen the last of him, and that he'd succumbed to the disease, or the onset of winter.

Winters in Canberra are nowhere near as cold as where you're from. But it does snow occasionally, and would be very uncomfortable for a cocky sans feathers.

One morning, about six months later, we raced to the verandah after hearing a familiar-sounding squawk. Peering out to the tree of birds, we saw a bald, decrepit, looking thing with a long beak, clambering slowly, deliberately, up the trunk.

It was Woo.

While there was nothing we could do for him now, I'm positive he'd made one last effort to say goodbye.

Parrots are pretty cluey.

And they know when they're loved.

Mary said...


Thanks so much for the kind words and story.

Having had a few weeks pass since his demise, I've been happier than ever that I was able to hold him as he took his last breath, and that he went relatively quickly.

What a remarkable story that you experienced something similar in the wild parrots. I am quite jealous of the abundant wildlife you have there and hope to visit some day!

DweezelJazz said...

Hi Mary,

I know I'm turning up to read much later than when you posted, but I'm so sorry to hear about little Jeff Saturday. He for sure knew that you loved him, and it's so lovely that you held him at the last. I guess if we've been loved and love while we live, then life was worth living - and you give lots of love.

Mary said...

Thanks, DJ.

We definitely miss him, but I do believe that he knew that he was loved at the end. I appreciate your kind words.