John's Digital WastelandAnimals--

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When I was a kid, we took care of an uncle's bird while he was out of town. The bird was a macaw parrot that was pretty mean and would take a finger off of your hand if you messed with him. This was my first, and only, impression of what a domesticated bird is like. When my wife suggested that we get a bird, I was hesitant. We shopped around, I handled some birds in various stores and I finally got comfortable enough around them to agree to getting a bird.

That's where Feeorin enters the picture. We bought him from a PetCo. The poor fellow was being fed nothing but seed (which is like feeding a child nothing but candy), he wasn't getting any attention or care and was in a glass cage at eye-level with small children. It would not surprise me if little boys and girls banged on the cage to get the little birdie to sing. The sign claimed that he was hand-fed and tame, but even my inexperienced eye saw through that lie.

We got Feeorin home in January of 1999 and immediately started giving him the love and care that he needed. He would bite us hard enough to draw blood so we also started working on teaching him that biting is a bad thing. It's been a little over a year since we got him and I'm proud to say that Feeorin no longer bites. When you first approach him, he will threaten to bite, but he doesn't actually follow through with the attack. He's still skittish with being held and does not like to be grasped in your hand. He kicks and fights, but does not bite when trying to get out of your hand.

Because of his horrid diet during his formative years, Feeorin's feathers are very brittle and weak. This means that he is unable to fly because he can't grow a full set of wing feathers. It also seemed that his muscles were not as strong as they should be. Tori, our other cockatiel, flapped her wings very, very fast (several times a second), but Feeorin seemed to have a hard time flapping his wings more than once a second and that's not fast enough to sustain flight. We've worked on improving his diet and working with his flight. He still doesn't have a good set of feathers (we're looking into a special diet for him to fix that) but he has grown stronger and is now able to flap his wings fast enough to mantain some lift. His flight is still clumsy and uncontrolled, but he is able to stay aloft for short distances and can control his landings and turning.

Another thing that helped improve Feeorin's life was Tori. She helped cheer him up considerably. He would not sing and the only time he would make any noise would be when he squawked in protest at being picked up. When we brought Tori into the household, Feeorin immediately started singing to her and teaching her how to be an adult bird. Part of his teachings was how to push other birds off of perches. This turned on him later when Tori developed more and started pushing back. The two birds get along quite well. They preen each other, sing to each other, play with each other and when one gets hurt or bothered (such as when we trim their nails), the other shows immediate concern.

Feeorin was named after a group of faeries in Celtic folklore that are friendly towards mankind and enjoy singing and dancing. Feeorin doesn't dance much, but he loves to sing and is now friendly towards us.