I have some birds. All of them are re-homed here because of various health circumstances and special needs. …Like Whacky Bird, who quite literally faints at the mere suggestion of a changed routine. And there’s Dumpling who managed to break his wingtip off and almost bled to death when his owner let him out to play. Since the break left a shattered bone end and the vet had to pull some magic out of her arsenal to save him, the bird was re-homed with me because he needs special care and caging.
Oldest of them all, weighing in at 26 years of age, is Regal, a magnificent, slightly odd looking critter because he suffers a condition I call Bad Cage Disease, his early years being spent in a cage whose bars were made of zinc, not plastic coated steel. Regal has nerve damage in one foot and a ring of missing feathers around his neck, all permanent problems. He needs special supplements …which he loves, thank you very much. But, because of the nerve damage in his leg, he can’t perch up high. He’s now, basically, a ground bird, except for daily cage cleaning where he jumps up, one footed to a low perch that’s barely off the cage floor. The fact that he’s supposed to be a perching bird, not a chicken whose feathers (except for the roosters, of course) are designed to stay above the detritus, makes him prone to, (a) getting his feet covered in doo, and, (b) miring his long tail feathers and wing tips, this all despite his special bird bath which he uses daily.
So we have “bird washing day” around here where I get him on my hand, take him to the bathroom, run some warm water, and proceed to, well, wash the bird. Then comes clipping his toenails if they need it and whacking off any tail and wing feathers that are too long to stay off the cage floor. He doesn’t mind any of it, at all. In fact, he revels in it.
Whacky Bird, of course, thinks this is all sorts of trauma, and, usually, when I come back from the bathroom with Regal, I’ll find her either panting like a tired locomotive, still conscious, but unable to move, or she’ll be crashed out, unconscious, on the cage floor. (She comes to after about five minutes, and, once Regal is safely back and she can see no damage has been done to her pal, she recovers to her normal, rather obnoxious self.) Dumpling, on the other hand, will make all sorts of sympathetic noises once Regal is returned to his cage …which, Regal, being quite proud of his coiffure and freshly bathed splendor, pointedly ignores as he preens and struts.
So, there you have it. Bird Washing Day at Dawn’s North Idaho bird retirement home.