but not anymore. Sadly, my cockatiel, Ophelia, died today. He (yes, he had a female name) just suddenly got sick and passed on. I buried him in the Perriwinkle flower bed.
My son and I bought Ophelia for about $35, oh, probably 15 years ago (or maybe longer; I don't remember). The person who sold him to us told us he was female, but female cockatiels have less flashy coloring than males. Imagine our surprise when Ophelia developed the orange circles on his yellow head--he looked as though he put on too much rouge.
My daughter taught him to wolf whistle, which lifted my spirits considerably. Every time I'd come into view, he'd whistle. He developed a game--he'd whistle a certain pattern and expect me to repeat it back to him. If I didn't do it exactly right, he'd screech at me, then whistle, then screech--well, you get the idea! Dorothy also taught him to say "Pretty bird" and "I love you." After a while, he began to put the two together: "I love you pretty bird," or "I love you bird." The cats liked to sit next to his cage--after I used the water spray on them, they stopped attacking the cage. When the cats would sit next to him, Ophelia would talk non-stop until they left. I think that confused the cats. The birds outside don't talk.
We used to have a dachsund named Oscar. Oscar and Ophelia developed a close relationship, so much so that Ophelia used to call Oscar when he wanted a visit from the dog. I'd have to pick Oscar up and hold him next to the cage.
Ophelia was an excellent "watchbird," a trait he shared with geese. Whenever he saw or sensed a person around the house (birds have excellent hearing, after all), he would screech loudly. He also used to scream if he heard sirens.
I'm a bit unsettled. After losing Judas, one of my older cats, and then Ophelia, I'm a bit undone. Yes, they are "only" pets, but I had special relationships with both of them. They have been steady, dependable companions, and their loss is difficult.