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April 20, 2008

Gilbert 1985 - 2007

This morning while in a hurry to get out the door to meet the usual group for Sunday breakfast I noticed a suspicious lack of noise coming from one corner of the dining room. Normally this spot is home to Gilbert, my fussy grey cockatiel I've owned since I was nine (if you're doing the math that's 22 years). His large cage appeared to be empty, until I saw his small, motionless body lying on his side on the floor. I sucked in my breath quickly, alerting Frinklin that something was wrong, and rushed to open the cage.

I bought Gilbert from the now-defunct Ramona Bird Farm with the earnings I made my first year of 4-H. I was going through an Anne of Green Gables phase at the time and named him after Gilbert Blythe. He kept a series of parakeets company over the years. Gil never backed down from cats and was fascinated by dogs and loved to ride around on Matchbox's back. Although he never learned to talk he could wolf-whistle like nobody's business.

Frinklin and I have joked for a long time that Gilbert would never die. Guessing life spans for cockatiels is just that - a guessing game. Could be 5 years, could be 20 years. A bird vet once told me that feeding him birdseed was like feeding him cheeseburgers and fries and that I should be giving him pellets. We switched him to pellets and he responded by throwing the pellets at me every time I walked by. He was back to burgers and fries after a couple of weeks. I figured making him happy was more important than making him healthy at his age (18 at the time).

Gilbert's been around so long I can't remember a time that I didn't have him. It's literally been 2/3 of my life. In the next few days I'll need to clean out his cage (once I finally recover from the virus that has sapped my will to live) and decide what to do with it.

Bird people are unique people. Over the last few years I've gone from owning several birds to now owning none. I'm not sure if I'm ready to be a regular person.

Posted by Ensie at April 20, 2008 05:58 PM

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Sorry to hear about the loss of Gilbert. I'm not a bird person but I am a pet person ;)

Posted by: Eden at April 21, 2008 07:02 AM

I'm glad I got the chance to get to know him a little. I'll be sure to pass on any pics I snapped in recent months. He made me happy 'cause I grew up with a cockatiel named Zane. RIP Gilbert!

Posted by: KevinFreitas at April 21, 2008 12:18 PM

Even though I've only known Gilbert for a fraction of his life, I'll definitely miss the guy. I'm glad he had such great bird parents during his two decades, and then some, lifetime.

Posted by: Cassioposa at April 21, 2008 12:28 PM

So sorry to hear about Gilbert.

Posted by: Jen at April 22, 2008 07:07 PM

awww, bunny. Here I was so involed in "headupmyass" land, I didn't know this.

hugs, and condolences...

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