RIP, Morris

RIP, Morris

In the months after moving to California in 2005, I visited a pet shop in Santa Maria. I hadn’t left that day with the intention of adopting a new pet. I guess I was taken with a fit of spontaneity upon seeing the different birds at the shop that day.

One in particular, an energetic bluish-grey cockatiel with a yellow tail caught my eye. The birds at this shop were inside glass aquarium-style cages that had been modified for birds. Those cages were behind a windowed wall that allowed customers to see in. I knew that if I ever got another cockatiel, I’d like to find one that was a good singer. Despite the two levels of glass between my vantage point and the birds, I could hear the blue-grey cockatiel exuberantly whistling. I asked the shop clerk if I could sit with the bird, and after a few minutes I knew I had to take him home.

Later that day, when Jen returned from work (and discovered that I’d unilaterally expanded our flock of pet birds), we spent some time getting to know this new creature.

It was clear that this bird was an apt vocalist, which was great. But it was also obvious that he hadn’t truly been hand-tamed, as he didn’t really like to be held or handled, which could present some challenges. In honor of these traits, we named him Morris after British pop singer Morrissey.

grey cockatiel looking outward from the bars of a bird cage
Morris enjoying some camera time. Taken with Panasonic Lumix G7.

Morris turned out to be a wonderful companion. Not only to me and Jen but to our other birds as well. He died yesterday at the age of 14 (an average lifespan for a cockatiel). It was a fairly sudden passing, as is often the case with birds. It was only a few days before that he was his usual active self. I was sitting on the couch watching TV. I’d let the birds out of their cage. Morris fluttered over to sit with me, which wasn’t unusual. What was strange was how he climbed down the right sleeve of my hoodie, sat on my arm for a bit, looked around, and tweeted at me. He didn’t stay long, as he usually preferred the more spacious and comfortable area of the couch seat back.

It probably wasn’t anything more than a random movement from a creature who could be very random at times. But I think he knew what was coming and he was saying goodbye and telling me he would be OK.

Rest in peace, Morris. You will be missed.

5 Replies to “RIP, Morris”

  1. I just knew Morris from the few times I cared for your birds. He was darn special and sweet, and I am so sorry for yours and Jen’s loss. 😢

    1. Thank you for your kind words. When Morris passed, we had a total of four cockatiels. The highest number of cockatiels we’ve ever had at one time is six.

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