Thursday, December 18, 2008

Night terrors

I can't believe I forgot to post about this earlier! Stella had a night terror last night, and I wanted to record the details so that I can compare should this happen again.

The parrots went to bed around 7:15. At 11:45, I was awoken by the sound of a parrot thrashing against their cage. From the sound of the bells, I narrowed down the suspects to Stella or Rocky. At 11:48, after 3 minutes, I went downstairs. It was Stella.

She was throwing herself up against her toys, the side of her cage, etc. It wasn't constant, like I've seen with cockatiel night frights, but she seemed unable to control herself.

I took her out of her cage and comforted her for about 5 minutes. I tried to put her back in her cage, but she seemed terrified of it and wouldn't let go of the death grip on my hand. So, back to the couch for another 5 minutes of reassurance and love. At that point, she wasn't thrilled to enter her cage, but did so. I went back upstairs. There was one more thrash, and then she was quiet for the rest of the night.

I couldn't get back to sleep for three hours after this. This is unheard of for me. Sleeping is my specialty. In college, the balcony fell off of the house across the street. A student was either killed or gravely injured; I can no longer remember. According to my roommates, there had been lots of sirens and the inside of our apartment looked like a disco due to the flashing lights on the police cars. I didn't wake up.

This morning, I got her up around 6:45 and inspected her. She had torn the skin off of the front of her wings (I couldn't get a good picture showing this) and had a bit of blood on the white part of her face. Other than her physical appearance, she was completely normal this morning.

Thomas did not wake up during this. If I'd have been home alone, I probably would have brought her back to the bedroom with me. When I told Thomas what happened, he was upset with me for leaving her downstairs alone. At the same time, I was afraid of babying her too much as I don't want her to start faking night terrors in order to get attention.All of the other parrots were normal, and I could find nothing strange in the living room when I was down there and she was terrified.

I sincerely hope this was a one-time thing as it was so horrible to see her in so much fear.


Anonymous said...

Hi Mary, So sorry you had to go through that night fright with Stella. One of my cockatiels tends to get frights more than the others, but since I installed an air filter in the house and keep it on the low setting, it creates a quiet white noise at night and has reduced the frequency of night frights considerably. Sometimes Sam gets frightened. Usually there is a specific reason for both Sam and Chipper. Very often an animal outside will knock something over during the dead of night, scaring them out of a deep sleep. And if one of them thrashes long enough, it will cause everybody else to thrash. Other times it's been a spider or a gnat that got inside their cages - since I use avian heaters, whatever insects are in the house tend to gravitate toward warmth. If you cover your birds, you might check the creases for spiders or moths. Anyway, it's not pleasant under any circumstance, and sometimes can cause a lot of physical damage (broken blood feathers and such). It always gets my heart rate up, and I usually don't get to sleep very easily afterwards, either. And they always seem to happen between 2 and 3 am! Go figure... I live on one floor, and I leave my bedroom door ajar so I can hear if anything happens. May you rest in quiet now!

Pamela said...

Do you have a night light? I use one for the finches, but Harley (TAG) can see it too, of course. Just the regular 4-watt little bulb. Might be worth trying if it happens again.

Mary said...

Shannon -- thanks for the explanation of your experiences. I have always heard they are more common in tiels, although I do have a friend whose pionus has them occasionally. I'm still not sure what scared Stella, but hope that it doesn't happen again! And sending positive thoughts towards Sam and Chipper so they can sleep peacefully!

Pamela -- thanks for the idea. We may have to do something like that should this continue. I'm really hoping it was a one-time thing since 7 months had gone by before this first one!

Anonymous said...

Oh no! Poor girl. Sorry to hear about the incident. How is she doing now?

Mary said...

Bestinflock -- thanks for your concern. There has not been a reoccurrence, and I have no idea what caused this one.

She is doing just fine and I'd almost forgotten this had happened!