The White Bird
by Judy Moon
(Soda Springs, ID)
The White Bird
author Judy Moon
The cage was sitting way back in a corner of the bonus room. Only one light shown in the room. The white bird was sitting quietly his dark eyes constantly watching the doorway with an earnest, waiting look. His feathers were ragged and worn with bare patches on his breast where he had torn out the feathers.
He knew better than to scream out his frustrations, fear and loneliness. If he did it someone would rush into the room and throw a cover over his cage, turn out the light and leave for maybe the rest of the day.
Out of boredom he began carefully pulling more and more feathers out of his breast. Why not, he thought to himself. There is nothing else to do. He had no toys, nothing to chew on, the water dish was a filthy swill and his food was days old. He really did not care any more.
He heard footsteps approaching and quickly ducked back. The door opened and in came two people, one he knew and used to love, the other a stranger. He wondered just what they had come for.
Both people approached the cage. The man he'd known and loved was telling the other man that this bird was noisy, a feather picker and a real problem. The other man just opened his wallet and said "How much?" The man he had known and loved said, "$700.00 cash." The stranger counted out the money and said, " I'm taking the cage too" "Oh go ahead I won't get another bird. They are just too messy, noisy and a lot of trouble."
The cover was whisked over the cage. The bird screamed....he just could not help it. He hadn't done anything wrong. He did not want to be covered and left alone forever. Suddenly he felt the cage being lifted and moved. Then doors opened and shut. Then he heard a strange sound and the sensation of moving.
Finally the strange sound stopped, doors opened and he was being moved again. More doors and more lifting. Finally it stopped. The cover was gently moved away from the front of the cage. There was light! In a few minutes the strange man began talking in a soft and gentle voice as he proceeded to clean the cage. The bird shuffled away and tried not to get close to those hands. He lifted and spread his wings in fear!
The man kept talking and changed the water bowl for a clean one full of clean water. Then the stranger took out the food bowl and put in another with lots of interesting things in it. Slowly, carefully the bird inched his way across the cage and tasted the water. It was sweet and fresh. Then he looked into the dish of food. What was this and that? He began tasting and throwing food around. Suddenly he remembered that made his man very angry. He looked at the man who was standing a few feet away still making those soft words.
Days went by and slowly the bird began to realize that every day brought light, cool fresh water, tasty food and even sometimes treats held in the hand of the stranger. Slowly the stranger became a friend. New chewy things and crunch toys came into the cage. At first the bird had been afraid. Now he was beginning to experiment with them. They were much more fun than pulling out his feathers.
As the months went by the bird grew to love this stranger who was no longer a stranger, but a friend, then a companion, and finally a person he loved. One day the man put his hand in the cage and waited. Cautiously the bird came forward and touched his arm with his beak. The man he loved did not do anything. So the bird cautiously stepped onto the arm. This went on for several days, until the bird felt quite safe sitting on the arm of his friend. Then one day the friend pulled his arm out of the cage with the bird on it. At first the bird was frightened and screamed and flapped his wings. The friend only spoke in those wonderfully soothing words. This too, continued for many days.
Finally one day the man took his other hand and very slowly and carefully scratched the neck of the white bird. Oh! Oh! What a wonderful feeling! The white bird mumbled a few sounds and cocked his head over for more scratching. Over the next months the white bird grew to enjoy the scratching and holding and cuddling. He mumbled often and openly invited attention.
Then one day the man was standing in front of the cage and asking if his little white bird would like to come out. He always said that. So the white bird concentrated hard and said very clearly "Yes, come out friend".