The Story of Aggie

In 1989 I purchased from a pet store a gray cockatiel which I named Joey. Good thing I chose such an androgynous name, because I later found out Joey was actually a girl.

For more than 11 years Joey was a faithful companion. I loved her as much as anyone could love a pet. I'd like to think I was a decent owner to her.

In late December 2000, Joey developed problems with her respiratory system. After visiting two vet clinics, it was decided that Joey had a lower respiratory infection, and for about six weeks she'd get two shots of antibiotics, every Friday.

For the last four weeks of this six week period, Joey dropped from 85 grams (healthy, if a little light for a bird) to 68 grams (a 20% loss of body weight). They kept her overnight on the day of what was supposed to be her last shot (even though she had shown little improvement in her respiratory illness -- March 16, 2001).

Saturday morning, X-Rays showed irregularly shaped lungs with fluid inside, and oversized air sacs. In a procedure to relieve pressure in the air sacs, Joey went into respiratory arrest and passed.

I was, to say the least, very saddened. Prepared to some extent, since she didn't seem to be doing all that well, it still hurt to loose my faithful, long time companion.

That day I sent out emails to a lot of people who either had birds, knew my bird, or knew that she was dealing with an ongoing illness. My sister called me immediately when she heard; having two birds herself, and a former cockatiel owner, she knew how much it could hurt ... and knew how much I loved Joey. My sister called again Sunday, and we discussed my getting another bird ...
Me: Yeah, maybe in three or four months I'll call the vet, see if they know any breeders, and get a little lovebird.

Her: Lovebirds can be hit or miss ... it takes some effort to make them "finger" birds.

Me: I know ... that's why I want to get one young.

Her: Calling the vet would be a good idea. You never know, you might find a bird that needs a new home; that someone is trying to get rid of.

Monday Morning

Every day at work there's a group of us who go on a morning break in search of caffeine. One of my friends in this group greets me Monday morning with, "Sorry to hear about your bird.  I have a lovebird you can have if you want."

Aggie trying to make her way from her cage to me.

I had met my friend's bird. Not knowing my friend to be especially cruel in his joking, though somewhat tongue-in-cheek, I responded, "Don't play with me, I know your bird and she's really cool. There's no way you'd want to get rid of her."

My friend proceeds to explain that even though he loves Aggie a lot, his son is allergic to the bird (and the cat, and the dog).

After me thinking about it, and my friend discussing it with his wife, I was willing to take Aggie in, and they were happy they could give her a good home.

Aggie on my knee, getting ready to fly up to land on the camera.

Aggie's Info

Aggie is a Dutch Blue Lovebird. Near as I can calculate, her hatch date was somewhere around November 24, 1999. She's been "pocket" trained, meaning that she will ride in a shirt pocket with little or no fuss.  She is quite small ... even on monitors set for high resolutions, chances are that the pics above are larger than life size. According to my friend, who has a degree in Anthropology and just has a knack for genus and species stuff, the origin of her name is from:
The genus name for lovebirds is "Agapornis." Because she's a hybrid, she doesn't have a species assignation.

It's Tuesday (March 20, 2001) now, and Aggie still isn't sure what to make of the changes in environment she's going through. Nor is she 100% sure of what to make of me. But hopefully we'll get to know one another and she'll come to like me.

I already like her quite a bit.

UPDATE: Dec. 2005 - I just read this page and noticed that I hadn't updated it - it turns out Aggie's a "he".

UPDATE: Aggie died in my hands Tuesday, February 17, 2015. A random page on the Internet puts him at 15 years, 2 months, and 19 days. He will be missed.


More Aggie Pictures

I wanted to get a picture or two of Aggie acting silly (she's very acrobatic), or at her bird bath, or any kind of neat "This is her personality" type picture. Though somewhat photogenic (I think), Aggie hasn't quite grasped the concept of posing for the camera.

March 27, 2001: Aggie always seems to wonder where my face went when I try to take pictures of her. About two seconds after I snapped this shot, she was perched on the camera. Most of the other shots I tried to take of her were thwarted by her noticing that I had the camera.
March 27, 2001: Quickly becoming one of her favorite perches, she likes to look out the window by her cage, particularly if there are other birds flying outside. Lovebirds, though small in size, have loud and somewhat high pitched vocalizations ... on this perch, she is occasionally quite vocal.
Okay, last round of Aggie pics until I figure out how to do the lighting and get it right during the same time that she's active.
March 28, 2001: She is a quite acrobatic bird. Here is a less flattering shot of her having a little fun with the swing I bought her. Sometimes I get the feeling it is secretly birdy torture to put the swing just barely within reach of her perch. But it is so fun to watch.
March 28, 2001: Aggie has a little decorative fountain that I got her for her to use as a bird bath. She likes to do this very often. Her previous owner had something quite similar for her; this is as close as I could find.
March 31, 2001: As part of her acrobatic routine, she has taken to climbing the drapes in my apartment. I don't mind; it's not like I spent a lot of money on them to begin with, and she finds it fun.
March 31, 2001: I had to lighten this a bit for it to come out. Here she is peaking out from behind the drapes.
March 31, 2001: She has no problem being upside down. This is the result of an effort by Aggie to figure out how to get over to me with as little flight time as possible. Looking at it now, she looks so much like a little bat.
June 6, 2001: I got a new digital camera (prior pictures were taken with one borrowed from work). Of course, as a test, we take pictures of Aggie. Though it's a video camera, she really didn't do anything interesting while I was taping her, so there wasn't anything worth putting up.
June 6, 2001: I am little more than a moving tree stand to her sometimes. Here she is sitting probably less than 5 inches from the camera, sitting on my belly as I lay on the futon I currently use for a bed.
June 6, 2001: Chances are this was manual focus, as Aggie either doesn't stand still long enough for the auto focus to lock in on her, or she's just too small for the auto focus to see.
June 6, 2001: This is very much a "Alright already, put down the damn camera and play with me" look.
More Aggie photos are available in the gallery -
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