A Sad State of Affairs

I got home tonight around 11:30 PM after a day spent traveling back from Costa Rica. I will write about the trip in future posts, But I feel I must come to the page about what has just transpired because I am still trying to figure it out.

Prior to leaving I was scrambling to put together better bird-care instructions for the new bird care person I had found. I trusted him to follow the instructions which came with pictures of how everything should look. The instructions were detailed and when I ran out of time to finish adding all the pictures, I believe I wrote copiously about every step. The pictures and these short videos were taken with the iPhone.

Breakfast is Readu 11-1-14-0496

While I was taking pictures of food preparation, I also managed to get a video of Zorro singing. He appears in the video above.

Sitting in the airport in San Jose this afternoon, I got a disturbing text message from the bird care person I had hired for the second time. He told me 6 birds had died and he was upset, because he thought he was following all the instructions. Two of them, he said, were the ones that were failing. I asked him if the other four were the rest of the Zebra Finches. He said yes.

Beau's Cage all done 11-1-14-0725

I came in the house tonight and was shocked to find only 3 birds. One budgie and two Society Finches. When I left I had 17 birds: Two budgies (one of whom was on his last legs), five Zebra Finch males, two Spice Finches and 8 – yes 8 – Society Finches, including my two little singer guys, Hector and Franklin. Neither one of them survived. I have found some corpses but not all, and I will not elaborate on where I found them. I have found none of the Society Finches. They were very young and the healthiest. I have two left, but I’m not sure if they are the two females that came with Hector or their daughters. Well I guess I don’t have to worry anymore about them multiplying.

Finches on the budgie cage 11-2-14-0803

But I am devastated. I cannot imagine what was done or not done to kill 13 birds in a little over one week, when I have left birds for up to three weeks before this. And I am wondering what I should do. My first instinct is to try to find more birds – not 14 replacements, but at least a couple young Zebra Finches that would reproduce, so I could have several little songsters again. But then I wonder if it is wise to take on another 12-year project at my age. Is this a sign that I should stop playing music for birds? Should I get used to silence and being alone? I don’t think I could stand it.

I guess I will know the answer when I wake up to silence tomorrow morning. It will take me a week or two, perhaps, to sort this all out. I will be looking for birds, perhaps, but I am not taking in just anyone. And I will certainly be looking for another bird care person when I decide to travel again. It won’t be any time soon.

R.I.P. Hector, Franklin, Gregorio, Zorro, Beniamino, Adolfo, Pietro, Beau Budgie, Marty, Johnnie, Isabella…and one whose name I can’t remember presently, if Phoenix and Ricki are still with me.


16 thoughts on “A Sad State of Affairs

    • Thanks so much, Jim, for your kind comment. It was mind-boggling but the details are beginning to reveal themselves and I will be more careful next time. If anything i think I’ll stay put for a while!

    • Thank you, Dear Linda. It was shocking. It still is but the sun is shining and I have a few new friends. (It’s noon and I’m finally getting caught up to breakfast, I haven’t had a meal since breakfast yesterday. Just as well, we were very well fed on the trip.)

    • Thanks, Syl. Yes. they are my little people, all with personalities, likes and dislikes, friends, habits. I’ve learned more about people observing birds than the other way around!

  1. I am so sorry to hear about your birds. I can’t even imagine how you must feel. Thank you and the birds for all the amazing posts and so many shared experiences.

    • Thanks so much, MaryLee. I’m so sorry they had to go the way I think they did, but perhaps it’s a wake-up call to me as well, that I can never take my precious little friends for granted. So now I have acquired some new little personalities to worry about and I look forward to sharing them with you.

  2. I’m so sorry to hear about this but glad to hear you are moving on. It’s a shame when you put your trust in someone and are completely let down. I hope you can find someone reliable in the future, it would be a shame to feel so tied down.

    • Thanks so much, Frank. It still hurts, especially when I am reminded of certain individual birds, or when I do something I know that person did not do. But my neighbor who parks his truck on my slab in exchange for handy-man services has offered up his brother and I also remember at least one local woman who responded when I first started looking two caretakers ago. Whoever it is I will be much more careful training before I leave for anywhere. Hope to report soon about my new charges who are already helping me get over the loss. 🙂

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