My little girl conure died in my hands yesterday because of my ignorance!
Close up of Pauline and her coloration
My little sun/hybrid conure Pauline, named after my mother, passed away yesterday in my hands. Pauline was very attentive, loving and would eagerly stand on anyone's finger, including strangers. When I talked to her she always became very quiet and would listen intently. In the last few weeks she had been mumbling something and two of my friends said she was trying to talk. Sure enough, she began saying "Wait, Wait!" I realized how much I repeat those words to my little pup. Everytime I filled Pauline's little stainless steel water bowl, she would almost curve her whole body in almost a closed U shape position. Then layed like that in the water dish. The last few days she started staying on the bottom of the cage. I had just put down a new type of liner (we-we pads for dogs). I ran out of the ones with taped edges. She started staying on the bottom of the cage and pulling at the pad. I inserted it as flat as I could but she managed to get it anyway. In the last 2 days I noticed her feathers were fluffed, spikey looking with each hair separated as if I put gel into her head. Sometimes her feathers fanned out but had had this beautiful blending appearance that created an awesome, miraculous sheen of coloration. At those times, although she did not say, hey! look at me, I immediately took notice and said oh, what a pretty girl. I looked at her stool about a week ago and it looked somewhat watery. Believe it or not, I am embarrassed to say I am an R.N. Although, I pick up minor changes in human patients, I never knew about birds. Do birds cry out loud? They do and I did not realize it. Before going to bed for the night, I said Pauline, are you ok? She seemed to be opening and closing her mouth but came up to me by nestling her body against the bars so I could rub her head. The past few days she was crying with a low voice but a high little whistling pitch lasting about 15 or 20 seconds. I thought she might have been mimicking something I had been saying or wondered if this was a sign of illness? My friend, a bird expert, had seen her the day before. She said, I think she is making a nest and laying eggs. I stupidly said, how in the world can a female bird lay eggs without a man? Another thing I realize
I was doing was spraying my carpet with lysol without ever thinking this would affect Pauline. Although my dog has fewer accidents now, when he does, it is right next to the bird cage. Another important oversight, was Pauline ALWAYS drank a lot and messed up her water every day by dunking her food in it. Her water bowl was clear and not discolored as usual. I killed my bird with my stupidity and ignorance. I leapt up while in the middle of doing something the following day to check on her and she was lying on her side on the bottom of the cage. Her eyes blinked. I grabbed her and she was cold. I screamed a blood curdling cry, Wake up! Get up! Suddenly her eyes became lifeless, began receding and a clear but blackened fluid film covered them. The hair that overlapped her tiny ears flattened back exposing the miniscule orifice that allowed her to listen to natures songs and all the happiness she responded to hearing my voice. She was gone. My bird Pauline loved me but my neglect caused her demise. I am sure that most bird lovers would call me a bird brain or worse. As a nurse, I’ve learned never to take anything for granted. Sometimes people don’t know things you might expect them to understand. All I can say is any change in your bird’s behavior may be a cause for concern. I am generally never neglectful of my pets and usually overly cautious. A difference in behavior may mean nothing, but it is better to be air on the side of caution and get it checked out by an expert. I didn't take my own advice. I had read that spikey fanning feathers may mean the bird is not in a good mood but they outlive humans. I had no idea that it could mean they are sick. Sorry for the long drawn out story but for those few who question something odd that you can’t pinpoint, it’s best not to play doctor or nurse as I did because it may be too late. It may cause the loss of a life that always a smile on your face. I buried Pauline surrounding her with the "Forget me not" flowers around my house in memory of my mother, Pauline and now my little conure Pauline. I am sorry I had not seen this extremely informational site before. I will recommend it to other bird lovers so that they become educated in identifying signs that maybe a potential problem. Sincerely, Cara