Two arthritic old birds

We have many exotic and domesticated birds at the rescue, hundreds actually. Most are lifers and fly around in large aviaries.

Recently, this little cockateil was found sitting on the floor of her aviary and seemed to be unable to fly, so was brought indoors for a little tlc. This bird is 15 years old and she was diagnosed as having arthritic wings.

Since being indoors, Charlie has become incredibly irritated and has taken to biting and shrieking at everyone. Most workers now dread opening her cage as she flies into a rage and becomes a bundle of fury, hurling herself at unsuspecting hands. Blood has been drawn, I kid you not. Even funnier, is how staff came to fear her, a tiny scrap of fluff.

Something had to be done!

So, three days were spent whispering to Charlie. I got her, completely. How those wings must ache. She would repeatedly stretch them back and forth in an effort to get comfortable, despite her meds.

At first, when I tutted quietly to her, all the while knowing how my hip ached, she ignored me. Then she gradually crept closer and closer to the bars of her cage, until she was right next to my face. By the end of day two she began to quietly tut back at me, and, she stopped screeching at the staff and seemed much calmer while having her cage cleaned.

On day three, after a long to and fro tutting session, Charlie did something rather odd….

she took a long, slow, deliberate, deep bow and dropped her head.

Oh…..you’d like me to groom you?

I opened the cage and gently probed around her neck feathers with my little finger, and she LOVED it. Amazing what a little bird tutting/whispering can do eh?

This has now become the new routine and she has even allowed another member of staff to groom her too. Along with grooming, she also enjoys a little light wing- massage….bless, I could do with a little of that too!

Obviously Charlie was lonely and had far too much time to dwell on her aching wings. She’s now become a model member of society. Hopefully, as the days grow warmer her aches and pains, just like mine, will ease, and she can go back to her friends. Meanwhile, my new role involves mastering the art of bird grooming, Charlie glares at me if I’m a little too rough or miss the hot spots!

A grumpy hedgehog having a bath to rid it of ringworm, I’d prefer bird grooming, it aint easy drying a hedgehog!

In other news, the mud track gets muddier….

and, the fritillaria are out, how I love the white ones.

And Finally…

The cherry trees are blooming, and are smothered with honey bees. Spring is here, I even saw my first butterfly!

  50 comments for “Two arthritic old birds

  1. March 22, 2017 at 11:40 pm

    You do seem to have a unique empathy with your patients. A lovely heart warming account.

    • Snow Bird
      March 28, 2017 at 8:41 pm

      Thanks Sue, I think we all respond to a little tlc, I think Charlie was just missing her friends, hopefully she will be back in bird world soon.xxx

  2. veggiemummy
    March 23, 2017 at 4:47 am

    Bird whispering – I love it! Poor old Charlie with her arthritic wings; that’s so sad. I’m so glad that you took the time to give her a little tlc and calm her and how rewarding it must have been to get her to trust you. I love your cherry blossom; I think that you must be warmer than here as we’ve no sign of it yet. Have a great weekend. xx

    • Snow Bird
      March 28, 2017 at 8:49 pm

      It’s odd seeing an arthritic bird, a vet once said that all animals and birds suffer from the same ailments as us, we even had an epileptic bird once. I don’t suppose they would last in the wild with such complaints. Charlie was worth the time and effort, she’s a much happier bird now. Here’s to warmer weather coming your way….xxx

  3. Jo
    March 23, 2017 at 9:23 am

    Oh, bless her. I’ve never thought about birds getting arthritis. They say animals don’t feel things the way we do, I think they’re more like us than we give them credit for.

    • Snow Bird
      March 28, 2017 at 8:55 pm

      It’s odd thinking of other animals suffering from the same complaints as us isn’t it? They certainly do though, most just wouldn’t survive in the wild. I’m quite sure that animals feel pain exactly as we do. Thanks Jo.xxx

  4. March 23, 2017 at 10:25 am

    Super post. Loe your ‘to-do’ with Charlie. Yes, they can be super friends….. Another lovely post, D!🤗🤗

    • Snow Bird
      March 28, 2017 at 8:58 pm

      Thanks Bushka. Birds do make loyal friends for sure.xxx

  5. March 23, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    Lovely post and pictures. Well done ‘Bird-Whisperer’, I sympathise with her having arthritic wings. xx

    • Snow Bird
      March 28, 2017 at 9:01 pm

      Thanks Flighty, I must hone my bird-whispering skills! Yes, it’s a shame seeing a bird with arthritic wings, hopefully she will improve as it warms up.xxx

  6. March 23, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    What a lovely post again, you parrot-whisperer you! What an amazing rapport you have with the animals. But WHAT are you going to do about the dogs’ dirt track … ahem … your lovely grass???? xxxxx

    • Snow Bird
      March 30, 2017 at 10:22 pm

      Lol…parrot-whisperer! All the wee beasties need is a little time…. Oh….my lovely grass!!! It’s even worse now it’s been raining for a few days. Something will HAVE to be done.xxx

  7. March 23, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    Awww, poor Charlie. It’s strangely satisfying to strike up a rapport and gain the trust of an animal. One of the more rewarding aspects of your job I would think.

    • Snow Bird
      March 30, 2017 at 10:26 pm

      I do feel for Charlie, hopefully warmer weather will ease her condition a little. It is always special when an animal finally decides to go down the trust route. xxx

  8. March 23, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    Drying off a hedgehog…well I never, who’d have thought!

    The mind boggles at your reciprocal arthritic wing massages. (What news apropos it ?) Bird tutting and whispering must add up to great communing.

    I can’t believe the blooms you have around you. The pix are super. xxx

    • Snow Bird
      March 30, 2017 at 10:31 pm

      I have to say that drying a hedgehog is no mean feat! I actually saw one shake itself like a dog after a bath, that was a first! My consultant has told me to wait until the hip seriously affects my quality of life before having it replaced to minimize the risk element so just putting up with the dratted thing at the moment. xxx

  9. March 23, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    What beautiful cherry blossoms. You are quite gifted at working with animals. Poor Charlie with her arthritis. I hope the warmth helps.

    • Snow Bird
      March 30, 2017 at 10:32 pm

      I always love it when the confetti starts falling….I not so much gifted as patient, I’m sure Charlie will feel better when the weather warms up.xxx

  10. Kitty
    March 24, 2017 at 12:15 am

    If anyone could find the pathway to Charlie’s spirit, it’s you, Dina…how perfectly you gave her the time she needed to “own” the right to invite care…sounds like she’s hooked on it now! Hooray!

    I’m sorry your hip is still causing you pain. I hope the warmer days will help. No fun to bear pain that impedes your very active life…carrying your relief in my heart.

    I love the shot of Buddy and Sam…Buddy looks longer and leaner to me. Where’s Miss Annie?

    It makes me laugh to even imagine drying a wet hedgehog. Hope it involves gloves.

    The fritillaria and cherry blossoms are glorious…you’ve way-y-y-y ahead of us, but it’s good to get a preview of what’s coming. 🙂

    Joy to your week’s end, Dina, and thank you for a wonderful post. Love to Miss Charlie.

    • Snow Bird
      March 30, 2017 at 10:44 pm

      Thanks Kitty, I think Charlie was ready for a little one-on-one time, she has a group of bird friends and was clearly missing them, so allowed me in, my privilege! She is doing so much better, she’s becoming playful and more aware of her temporary surroundings.
      Well, you know all about aches and pains after your foot/feet problems….it does get old quickly doesn’t it? Warmer weather will help though, bring on the sunshine, for both of us!
      Annie is lurking behind a bush in the right of the pic, poor boys don’t even realize they are being herded!!! Love and hugs to you and yours.xxxxxx

      • Kitty
        April 2, 2017 at 12:58 am

        Oh, yes; there’s sweet Annie! Like one of those puzzle pictures! 🙂

        Warmer weather is trying to dominate, but not quite yet. Looks like another week of spring: some cold, some warm weather coming, but spring flowers are poking through, and today, at least, was warm and sunny! Yay!

        Hope your Sunday is lovely…

        • Snow Bird
          April 2, 2017 at 7:10 pm

          We are having similar weather, not as cold as you though! Good to know those buds are coming through, it’s fantastic seeing those first blooms. Everything is shooting up here, so exciting! Here’s to warmer weather for you, and soon!!!xxxx

  11. March 24, 2017 at 2:59 am

    We had a cockatiel named Nikki who loved to be groomed in just that way. He’d come over and bow his head, and get scritches and loves until we wore out. He was so funny — he’d spread out his wings, and say, “I’m an eagle!”

    My kitty has arthritis now, and it’s quite significant in one paw. The poor thing has such a hard time curling her paws around. But she still can jump up on the bed and her chairs, and every now and then she still tears around the house. But she often wakes me up at night, meowing, and I know she’s uncomfortable. We’re not quite at the point of going to medication, but if she begins to have more problems, we may.

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen frittilaria — they’re beautiful. And to see a butterfly! Spring is on its way, for sure.

    • Snow Bird
      March 30, 2017 at 11:02 pm

      Ahha! There you go….that is what these birds must do. Your Nikki sounds fascinating, glad he was groomed to his hearts content. Sounds like he was a very lucky guy!
      Oh…poor, poor Kitty, I feel for her, it’s no fun suffering from arthritis, I know she is an old girl though….sighs…
      Fritts are just gorgeous, snakes head, they look just like little scaly dragons.xxx

  12. March 24, 2017 at 6:28 am

    Good on you! …..as Australians say. What she needed was someone to care for her, and don’t we all need that….especially when we are feeling old and creaky. I think birds and animals respond intuitively to some people, and you are one of them, and it is lovely that you are doing so much good out there at the shelter. I would draw the line at bathing the hedgehog, that just looks too tricky for words!

    • Snow Bird
      March 30, 2017 at 11:19 pm

      Ha! Love the Good on you…when we lived in Oz they often added cobba. Yes, we all need a little nurturing at times for sure, eventually we’ll all be old and creaky! We all just do the best we can at the rescue, soon, all hell will break loose when the chicks arrive, so poor Charlie may not get so many massages……I’ll do my best though, hopefully she’ll be back with her pals as the days get warmer. Drying hogs is NOT fun!xxx

  13. March 24, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    Oh my, arthritic wings. It hurts to even think about it. So happy to hear you worked your magic on Charlie and let her know that someone cares. A good massage transcends languages and species apparently! Those delicate, colorful cherry blossoms are a balm to those of us who are still in a winter monochrome. It’s snowing here!!!!

    • Snow Bird
      March 31, 2017 at 8:36 pm

      I’m with you re arthritic wings, it must be a nightmare when trying to fly. Oh….poor you still in the throes of winter, I can imagine how old that is, here’s to a little warmth and colour, can’t be long now.xxx

  14. March 24, 2017 at 8:34 pm

    I’ve never thought of birds getting arthritis, but i suppose it is possible. How do they cope in the wild I wonder. How wonderful that Charlie responded to your ministrations and is now recovering.
    Love your fritillaries, they are such fantastic flowers aren’t they? My next post will be about them, I think they are at their peak now.

    • Snow Bird
      March 31, 2017 at 8:39 pm

      I’m surprised at how many creatures suffer the same ailments as us, we even have cats with diabetes! I don’t think birds with that condition would last very long in the wild, but at least Charlie is getting all the treatment she needs. Fritillaries are just fascinating aren’t they, I have a lovely one growing, planted by red squirrels I think.xxx

  15. March 25, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    This was such a touching was this story! Poor little birdie! She just needed someone who understood.

    • Snow Bird
      March 31, 2017 at 8:39 pm

      Ah, thanks Jennifer, Charlie is a lot more content these days.xxx

  16. March 26, 2017 at 10:10 am

    Good morning dear Dina…I do hope you are enjoying the same glorious spring weather that we have in London and that the warmth of the day will sooth yours and Charley’s aches…..:)
    So now you can add to your long list of attributes….Bird Whisperer…a lovely story. Always laugh out loud when i see pictures of the doggys going berserk……and yes it is wonderful to see spring flowers and blossom everywhere. Sending love. janet xxxx

    • Snow Bird
      March 31, 2017 at 8:42 pm

      We’ve had some truly horrid days but today the sun shone out and we played out at the beach, hoping for more days like that! I rather like the idea of being a bird whisperer, they certainly can communicate with us when they want to! It’s lovely seeing everything burst into bloom….you just can’t beat spring can you? Lots of love to you too.xxx

  17. March 26, 2017 at 9:57 pm

    Oh good for you … arthritis can make anyone feel grumpy and wanting to yell (or screech) at people. Hopefully with warmer weather the pain may dissipate (and help yours too).

    I love this time of year and seeing blossom trees showing off their array of wonderful coloured blooms.

    Sending good wishes for the coming new week

    All the best Jan

    • Snow Bird
      March 31, 2017 at 8:44 pm

      I’m sure a little warmth will go a long way in soothing our aches and pains! Spring is just lovely isn’t it, it may be my favourite season, but then I love them all.xxx

  18. March 27, 2017 at 12:03 am

    You are so perceptive and in tune with your animals! How they must love you!

    • Snow Bird
      March 31, 2017 at 8:45 pm

      Ahhh….thanks Casa, I only do what I can, how I wish I could do more. Sometimes a few hours and a little patience can sort things. xxx

  19. March 27, 2017 at 10:23 am

    How special you are! You got God’s blessing in your expertise to tweet in the bird’s language… good Heaven, Dina! You are a volcano of wonders… bird grooming and wings massage… never heard of such delicacies.
    You could write a book, I’m quite serious!
    Fortunately, isn’t the hedgehog needing grooming and massage…
    Right now I’m occupied with frogs and toads, and I really start developing a deep love for them… it has been since around 50 years I was kissing frogs hoping to find the blue prince 🙂
    I found my husband, wasn’t a frog, but he’s an animalist as me!
    Wish you a lovely week :-)c

    • Snow Bird
      March 31, 2017 at 8:51 pm

      I’m not special Claudine, I’m just like you, a person who loves animals and sympathizes with them. It was such a pleasure getting through to Charlie and such fun grooming her and enjoying a conversation. I don’t think anyone would read any book written by me!!!!
      It is a tricksy thing drying a hedgehog, I noticed it shaking itself like a dog, who knew hedgehogs did that?
      I’m glad you’re taking care of the frogs and toads, they are fascinating creatures, we have lots of them in our garden, the toads seem especially tame! Lol, your husband sounds very much like a prince to me!!! xxx

  20. Keggy
    March 29, 2017 at 8:57 am

    Awhh. Charlie is a cute bird. Glad you could charm him and manage to get c!ose enough for a neck massage. Sorry to hear that your hip is aching too. The warmer weather is just around the corner, so hopefully that will give you some relief.
    We had some snake’s head fritillaries in our local park last year, but I haven’t seen them this year. So thanks for showing yours. They are beautiful.
    I had to smile when you mentioned the mud track. Those dogs have certainly churned up the ground with all their frolicking !
    And those hedgehogs. I suppose that most of those you have had over the winter will be released soon ?
    And last but not least, that lovely cherry blossom is a joy to behold.
    Another heart warming post Dina.

    • Snow Bird
      March 31, 2017 at 8:55 pm

      I think warmer days will work magic on Charlie and I, you’re right, Charlie is a cutie!
      Maybe your fritillaries are a little late coming out, those in my blog always arrive first, then smaller ones follow a week or two later, fingers crossed you get to see yours.
      We have a hundred or so hogs that have been overwintered, we start releasing around the end of April after they have hardened off outdoors for a few weeks. It’s a long process!
      I have no idea what to do about my lawn/lack of lawn….sighs…
      Good to hear from you, hoping all is well in your world.xxx

  21. April 2, 2017 at 9:37 am

    I love your animal stories Dina. Poor Charlie, but how amazing to be a bird whisperer.
    Lovely to see spring flowers at last, I am mad on fritillaries.

  22. Snow Bird
    April 2, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    Thanks Chloris, I see I shall have to work on my bird whispering skills, we have a bad tempered macaw arrive at the rescue recently, intent on biting one and all!!! Oh, you and me both re those frits! Fabulous little flowers!xxx

  23. April 2, 2017 at 10:09 pm

    You are brilliant, Dina! I just love how you took the time to get to know Charlie and win her over, such a lovely story and heartwarming all round. You’ve made me think now – exactly how do you dry a hedgehog? Carefully, I suppose!

    • Snow Bird
      April 9, 2017 at 8:40 pm

      Ahh, thanks Caro, sometimes it just takes a little time with animals, trying to figure out what the problem is. Charlie and I are now firm friends, she is thoroughly enjoying her grooming! Lol…yes, care is required when drying a hedgehog!!! xxx

  24. April 7, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    Should anyone doubt that you have the magical touch? Like Flighty, I thought of you as the bird-whisperer, too 🙂 So sweet that you have calmed little Charlie and everyone is happier for it.

    I’m trying imagine drying a hedge hog. Is it as bad as drying cats?

    • Snow Bird
      April 9, 2017 at 8:45 pm

      I don’t know about having a magical touch, just a little patience. Charlie is a much happier bird now…drying hedgehogs is difficult, but not as bad as drying cats!!! Give me the hogs any day!!! XXX

  25. April 7, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    Oh, and I’m swooning over your cherry blossoms. Was wondering if cherry trees would grow and bloom in California. One google search later, I learn California’s only behind Washington state in cherry production(!). So now you’ve got me wondering where to plant a cherry tree 🙂

  26. Snow Bird
    April 9, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    Oh!!! How marvelous!!! My trees are flowering cherry so don’t produce cherries, but I’m sure they will be as happy as cherry trees, I can’t wait to see if you get yourself a cherry tree, the blossom is gorgeous, especially when it floats around like confetti!!!xxx

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