Yesterday, a little over two months after her passing, the bird rescue picked up Leila’s cage and some of her toys and perches. A big deal. A sense of finality. Never in a million years did I think that there would be a bird in my life. I identified as a dog, cat and horse person.
I met my Leila Bird in 2007 at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah. She was nine years old at the time. Before Leila was relinquished to the sanctuary, she managed to fly full throttle into a running ceiling fan. For most birds this would have been a death sentence. Leila survived the accident with a broken wing which left her permanently crippled and unable to fly. Because of the trauma she began self mutilating and arrived at the sanctuary with a bloody and raw belly in addition to the poorly healed wing. Yikes!
I met her on the last day of my TTouch training. We were going to tour the exotic bird department. Someone who worked there placed her in my hand. Just like that! That was the end of my tour. She felt incredibly sweet and tender. Her belly was still painful and infected. Instinctively I did some tiny Tellington Touches on her and she melted right into them. Oh boy! That sealed the deal. I fell hopelessly in love and a few weeks later she relocated to Oregon. And I learned parrot husbandry from scratch. Ha!
I can tell you that she taught me incredible things. She was brilliantly smart, easy going, independent and adventurous. I learned to think like a bird, to see things from her perspective, to tune into the experience of being a prey animal, to understand the power of a hook beak and its genius functions.
Leila had an entire room in my house designed like a jungle gym to exercise, climb and forage. She also had “building projects”, mainly wooden furniture pieces. The “architecture” that she created with her beak was remarkable. The room had a screen door so that she could hold court with the other mammals in the house. She loved it! My cat Esme and Leila had regular morning meetings at the door which made my heart soar. True interspecies communication. It didn’t seem to bother her that she couldn’t fly. For the most part she was able to do what her wild cousins would do with the exception that I was the other bird in her life. And a long life it was.
My house is much quieter now. For sixteen years I had a slice of delicious wilderness in my life through the presence of this mighty little spirit. I miss you, my sweetie girl. I am so glad that we found each other. Fly free.
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Photo Credits: Kristin Zabawa, Malcolm Pullen, Nancy Yamin