Bleedin’ Nora – a tiny parrot sketch

We are foster parents. A love bird called Nora has come into our lives. At least one of us thinks we are foster parents. The other one is under the impression this arrangement is just for a few weeks. Under the influence of a delicious Wairarapa wine while on holiday, I responded to a call for help from my nephew: his girlfriend was looking for someone to look after her bird for three weeks…I said the to The Enabler – we are going to be babysitting a lovebird when we get back to town. No we are not – said The Enabler. Needless to say The Enabler is now smitten with her and she with him. She watches his every move from her cage as he chops vegetables, and we discovered she has a taste for greens. Nora is hella noisy and a clown. She is contemptuous towards Chairman Miaow only because I keep her cage at a great height, perched on top of the Welsh dresser (praying there is not another earthquake). Interestingly when I brought her cage down to dog height to meet Poppy they tentatively sniffed “noses” then Nora the Explorer reached over and very gently pecked Pop on the nose. Since then Poppy has followed wherever the cage is and sat guard.

Don’t know the first thing about love birds but do know they are social. I have never been keen on birds in cages, having been through the childhood trauma of cats eating budgies and the whole imprisonment thing.  And to make my guilt worse. Her other half has died – he got out of the cage and flew away. I’m hoping to add to repeat the cycle by getting her a boyfriend. Upon researching, I found out that lovebirds can be ‘spiteful’ – but then can’t we all? The pressure to be lovey-dovey all day – who can maintain that nonsense?

Now I have said I’m happy to have her long term until her owner finds a place to live. I was hoping I’d be asked that. The Enabler insists that we cannot have her because of Chairman Miaow. But I think we could do it. In the meantime, we are going away for a week and we have friends house-sitting, so Nora has gone to stay with her  91 year old foster-Grandma. My Mum has dementia, so will need to be reminded to feed her and change her water. Maybe she will remember to feed herself as a result. Loneliness just eats away at motivation to do the simplest of daily tasks, so this could wake up all sorts of things for Mum: someone to talk to and care for. When I was a kid, our house was filled with animals and birds. So now she is perched on Mum’s dining table (that she never eats at anyway) talking incessantly to Mum and being fed (healthy) treats. I’ve only rung five times today to remind her about the food and water and  to cover her at night.

My dilemma – should she stay with Mum? I want her back – and want to get her in an indoor aviary with a partner bird. However The Enabler is not prepared to enable this. Will Chairman Miaow scare her to death? Would Grandma then get lonely? Am I just being selfish or is this really love? Should we do shared care? Are there agony aunts for lovebird owners out there?