I was sitting here trying to think of something interesting I could post about, and I decided that it might be interesting to write an installment about each of my birds and how they fell into my ownership. I’ve written a little blurb about each of them in the Our Flock section, but it doesn’t really highlight the extent the extent and the urgency that I took some of them out of.
Bella’s story is by far the most interesting and involved. She makes everyone else seem pretty lack luster to be honest. And if there was ever an animal that I wish I could see what they went through when I wasn’t around, it would be Bella.
Bella was born and bred at the little pet store I work at. She was the youngest of a clutch of three chicks, and there were only two clutches laid, so she was the youngest of six chicks. Her parents stopped producing shortly after Bella was hatched.
I first met Bella sometime in August right after I got my job at the pet store. Because the store is family owned, we often take in people’s animals that they no longer want and put them back up for adoption, hoping another family will come and give them a home. These animals have a smaller ‘rehoming fee’ instead of a price tag and often go home with their cage and their toys that they came in with. Bella had come back to the store after being purchased two years prior. Red throated conures are pretty rare, and not many people in this area have heard of them so I didn’t even know what she was when I first saw her. I had been thinking about getting another bird, maybe another cockatiel or a green cheek conure, but there was definately something about Bella that drew me to her. My boss told me that she had been bought for a child, who no longer had an interest in her and the mother couldn’t stand her screaming. She then went to live with an old lady who took pretty good care of her, but died. She went through a few relatives while they sorted out the will and such, and then she went back to the child and the mother who hated her. Finally, in desperation, they brought her back to the store because they couldn’t stand her anymore and just wanted her gone.
Bella was nervous and nippy at the store, but she wasn’t mean. Her rehoming fee was far less than what she had origionally been marked at, and for a two year old red throated conure, she was a steal. Bella was quickly put on layway by an older man.
However, as time went on, Bella still sat at the store. The man stopped answering our phone calls. Three months time passed and Bella’s layways was voided at the beginning of December, just in time to be homeless for Christmas.
Christmas Eve came and another guy came into the store and expressed an interest in Bella. He had come and bought several animals from us before, but it never seemed like he kept them very long. He always was rehoming or reselling his pets for some reason or another and it really didn’t sit right with any of us at the store. He asked to buy Bella, and my boss gave him a speech about how she had been through a lot and if he wanted to take her, he needed to be prepared to give her a lifetime home, as she had already been through so many changes and her sweet, trusting demeanor had already been compromised because of it. He assured us that he has been thinking about getting a bird for a long time and that he loved her, blah blah blah. He took Bella home that day.
The Christmas season went by, and two weeks after selling Bella my manager started telling me about she didn’t think that guy had her anymore. She said that he came in to buy crickets, but nothing for the bird, and when she asked about her, he just kind of mumbled and didn’t really say anything and left in a hurry. We all had our suspicions and everyone felt really bad.
A few weeks later, I was googling bird toys in Pittsburgh. Somehow that brought me to Craigslist where I was staring face to face with an ad for a red throated conure.
I immediately emailed the guy, trying to find out the birds name even though I was almost sure it was her. I went to work and showed my boss and manager, and I tried to come up with a plan on how to execute a rescue.
The guy emailed me back and I found out that Bella was not being sold from the origional guy who bought her. He had apparently sold her again, and now this guy was selling her. I was disgusted. The asking price was a whole $150 more than she had been rehomed for at the pet store. I emptied my savings account while my parents were at work and drove someplace I had never heard of before to go rescue a bird. I knew it wasn’t very smart, but it was something I had to do.
When I got there, I was led down to a basement bedroom. Bella was in a ferret cage between a big lizard and a snake. There were no windows in the room and everywhere I looked there were reptiles. She bit me as soon as I tried to pick her up, but I didn’t really care. I asked for a box and handed over the money and belted her into the car.
Halfway home, I realized I was in trouble. I had no cage for this bird, no food except for the Walmart seed mixture he had given to me, no conure sized toys, and I didn’t even have any perches because all of my birds were handicapped! Plus, my parents, who had said no more birds three birds ago, were going to kill me!! So I went to the only place that I thought could help me; my work!
And help me they did. When I showed them Bella and told them what I had done to get her, they gave me a cage, food, perches, toys, everything I could need to get her started at my house. They thought I was crazy, but as animal lovers, they understood. Then I had to think of a way to break it to my parents. I texted them both ‘you’re going to kill me’. They’re immediate thoughts? I wrecked the car or was pregnant. So much faith in me. Needless to say, they were relieved when I texted them a picture of a green parrot. Relieved, but still not happy.
Later than night, Bella decided I was her human. I was trying to talk to Lance on the phone and crawled up into my loft bed while my mom was trying to become friends with Bella down on the floor. Bella had been sitting on the top of her cage, but as soon as I crawled up out of site, she crawled down and began pacing, trying to find me. My mom ended up called me down because she was going so nuts trying to find me. I think my mom was disappointed; she has always wanted a bird that would ride around on your shoulder with you and that wants to be with you. I think she was hoping Bella would bond with her and be her bird. Bella had different plans though.
At first, I couldn’t stand Bella’s clingy-ness. She wasn’t just content to sit on my lap and get her head pet like my other birds. She wanted to climb up next to my head and snuggle into my hair. She wanted to hide under my ponytail. She wanted to preen me, constantly! And when I wasn’t around, she screamed. Getting her settled in was a hard time period. She drove me nuts being so clingly, she drove everyone else nuts screaming, and she started getting aggressive towards everyone. If someone wanted to sit next to me on the couch and Bella was out, she would climb off my shoulder, walk over, and attack them.
Thankfully, Bella has settled down and become much more laid back from where she was. She still bites; especially strangers. When I come back from school for breaks, she goes into ‘clingy conure phase’ but after a few days goes back to being self sufficient. And she still screams. A lot.
I’m very happy I rescued Bella. I’ve given her a chance at a new life that she wouldn’t have had if I hadn’t taken her. Aside from being moody and loud, Bella is very goofy and adventurous. She is playful and silly, and she loves making people laugh. She’s has opened up and become very loving at times, and loves to cuddle next to me or preen my hair when shes out. She loves going out for car rides and visiting pet stores, but she still doesn’t like being handled by strangers. She’s tough and go with Lance, mostly because she hates that he takes my attention away from her.
And ultimately, I believe she changed my life. Lance says that it was the day I brought her home that I decided I wanted to be a vet. He said that when he asked me why, I said ‘because I have this bird, and I like helping her, and I want to help other things’. Honestly, I don’t remember it all that well. The days after bringing Bella home were a big blur. But, I’ll trust his judgement on it lol.
And even though I’m at school half the time and she’s here, Bella’s species can live to be 25 to 30 years old, and shes currently 4. I think we have a lot of time to get to know each other 🙂