Born thirteen years ago, our daughter Rebecca bought her while attending Boston University. She had her own apartment and this little bird was good company. Once in a while I would take Cadie home with me and we called it "Budgie Camp". I fell in love with that beautiful little creature from the get-go. Cadie was coming to "Budgie Camp" so often that our daughters and then recently married son-in-law decided to gift me with my own budgie for my birthday. (That's another story for another blog.)
Cadie was an independent little girl. If she didn't like something, she let you know it in her own little way. After Rebecca and Tyler were married they brought Cockatiels to live with them named Charlie, Reggie and Tommy. Cadie seemed to get along find with them. When they moved to the Philadelphia area while Rebecca attended Temple U., I drove my car to help them with the move and Cadie came in my car for the trip. She was a very good traveler and always had been. When we stopped for lunch, I opened my car door and Rebecca opened hers (she had the Charlie and Reggie in her car) and both Cadie and Charlie were "talking" to one another. We got a kick out of that.
A few years later they all moved back to Massachusetts. Charlie began laying eggs and before we knew it there were quite a few baby Tiels in their home. That many birds surrounding little Cadie was more than she could take so Rebecca called one evening and asked if I would take Cadie. It was a no brainer. Within minutes we were on our way to Peabody to pick up Cadie. She was familiar with Whisper (the Budgie given me for my birthday). She was happy to be here and I was happy to have her.
Many afternoons I would go in the bedroom with them, shut the door and allow them the freedom to fly, play, sit or whatever. They would sit on my shoulders one on each side all the while chattering and cooing.
During the cold weather months I kept them in my home office as it was warmer with the computer running all the time. After I covered them for the night, Cadie would let me know she was unhappy if I came into the room with a ch ch ch type of chatter like you are disturbing me.
In her earlier years she was very feisty. When we opened her cage she would squawk and tried to bite us but after a few moments, she would readily get up on a finger and enjoy being with us. Budgies are such social birds and that is what makes them enjoyable pets. In later Spring and throughout Summer she would chatter up a storm when I'd be rolling the cage to the living room. She enjoyed watching television and being with us. When in the other room with me, she would "whistle" when I had music playing. As the years rolled by Cadie mellowed.
Yes, Cadie mellowed so much so that the past few weeks not only would she fly to my shoulder when I opened the door to her cage, but because at thirteen old age was setting in and she wasn't feeling her usual self, she would prefer to get on my lap and snuggle under my sweater to keep warm or fly to my shoulder and snuggle along my neck for the same reason. I would hold her in the palm of my hand covering her with the other hand and she would sleep... she needed body warmth to help her along. By last week, every time I came into the room she would get near the door of the cage for me to pick her up. I would take her into the living room with me holding her on my chest and covering her with a small blanket - there she would stay.. never budging.. just warm and comfortable she would sleep.
Cadie was losing weight - never a good thing for a bird. She had always been a solid kind of bird when picked up. Never overweight, just good and solid. Last Friday, it was obvious she was losing weight. She was no longer eating her pellets or millet (which birds love). Rather all she seemed to be able to eat was bread that used to be her morning treat. She used to wait on her perch each morning for me to give her a small piece as her treat of the day. Little did I know that someday it would be all she could eat to sustain her little body.
Saturday Cadie looked like she was making a come back. She felt heavier and she was spry: ah yes, the tempest before the storm! Sunday her weight was down again and having a difficult time to swallow she ate very little and was no longer drinking water. Through it all, the only thing this little bird wanted was to be with me. She wanted to be held and kept warm. At that stage I always imagine it must feel good for birds to be off their feet for a bit. I've had other birds and at end stages it was always like this but Cadie was different in so many ways. I believe that her feistiness was often her strength and when she loved you it was as strong as she was feisty.
When in Pennsylvania she was very sick. The vet ordered special shots for her and she made a full recovery. She was a fighter! Another thing about her is that she seemed to really like a clean cage and I cleaned her cage religiously every morning. She loved to take longggg baths, her last one a week and a half ago.
I don't know where she found the strength but on Sunday, twice when I opened her cage, she flew to my shoulder - that is just how much she wanted to be with me in her last days.
Early yesterday morning, January 30th, our beloved Cadie passed. The wind picked up and I just knew Cadie was flying as fast as she could to be with our other birds - if there is a bird heaven they are all together now. When there is a thaw, I will bury her under the Rose of Sharon with the other birds that passed on. She will be in good company with Budgies Whisper, Sweet Pea, Kiwi; Tweety Bird (a Canary) and Tommy (a Tiel). As you see Cadie is now in good company with our own familiy of birds.
Yesterday was a very sad day and I cried a lot but at the same time I was very happy that Cadie and I had such a strong bond that she could trust me to the very end. Throughout the day I wondered how many little birds would climb onto someone, snuggle under a sweater to keep warm and allow themselves to held in the palms of one's hands to warm them up. This was very consoling as it spoke to me of the trust Cadie had that I would provide and protect her the best I could. Yes, she was a truly exceptional bird!
I now miss her chatter when I come to the computer to write or to work. This room has become so quiet and empty. Isn't it funny how such a little creature can fill a room? Of course, with her personality, Cadie was bigger than life! I miss that feisty and independent little bird who endeared herself to all our hearts. She was our girl and we loved her.
There will never be another little Cadence/Cadie.
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Lucie LeBlanc Consentino
2012 - Present