Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Cami our Baby Girl

Picture taken 1998

Cami became a part of our lives in October of 1998. I had several birds over the years starting at a young age. I have had several parakeets one of them being called Bird. He was unique and our

family had many fun times having him chase a shiny button around the table from family member to family member. After Bird died my son Garen and I bought a Cockatiel from a local lady and his name was Klutz as he could never fly and would fall off from his perch for no reason. He wasn’t as friendly as Bird and he lived to be 15 years old.

I had decided that I didn’t want any more birds as I did feel sad when Klutz died, but after a few years that changed and I started wanting a parrot again. Only this time I wanted a big parrot. So Frank & I started shopping around the bird shops looking at the different kinds of birds. This was a process that took a few months.

We were in St. George, UT and discovered a bird shop there. While in the shop looking at birds I was fascinated with this beautiful white Umbrella Cockatoo and the owner let me hold him. He cuddled right into my chest and cooed sweet sounds to me. I couldn’t believe that a bird could be so loving and I said “this is the kind of bird I want.” The bird was being boarded and was not for sell, but the owner said his sister had just hatched out some babies and I could buy one of them.

We went back to the pet store a couple of weeks later and the owner had the new babies in a warm box. They were the ugliest things I had ever seen. They were in pin feathers and bare skin was all you could see with these funny pin feathers everywhere. We were able to pick one out when they were a little older and had feathers. We had already decided on a name for a female and that was Cami.

We didn’t know what sex the bird was that we had picked out and was anxious to find out, so the owner had her sexed by sending a clipping of her toenail to a place that sexed birds. We anxiously waited to receive the results.

When the results came to the shop owner, he called us and told us we had a female. We were excited as now we could officially name her Cami. Cami had to stay at the bird shop until she was winged and soon it became apparent that was going to take a long time so I had the shop owner show me how to feed her and we brought her home. We had a small bird stand that Cami would sit on as from the very beginning; we let Cami out of her cage as soon as we were up in the mornings. She would sit there very quiet and when she would see me with her feeding tube she would get very excited and start flapping her wings and doing the baby bird thing by opening her mouth and waiting for the tube to be put down her throat and fill her crop with the warm formula. Then she would be content and a happy bird.

I took Cami everywhere with me in the house even when I took a bath and she would watch me and as she got older flap her wings as I sprayed a little water on her. Then one day she jumped right into the tub with me and sat on my belly and played in the water. She loved to get under the covers with me and she would chew on my pajamas and I had a lot of holes in my tops. Frank would come home from work and find me with Cami on the arm of my chair petting her and talking to her. The first words that she learned were “love you.” She then added love you baby, and when she was older she added Papa, Mama, hello baby girl, and one of the last things she started to say was “Hello Sherry.” This really surprised us as she wasn’t around Sherry that much and would torment Sherry when she was at our house. Sherry found out that when Cami was sitting with Frank she couldn’t go over and give him a hug or kiss goodbye when she was leaving to go back to Vegas after her weekend home. Cami soon learned that Sherry was fun to tease and would go after her in attack mode and so there was an ongoing game with Sherry. Cami knew that Sherry was afraid of her so we think that is why she would try and get the best of her.

I had read that when Cockatoos learned someone was afraid of them they would take advantage of it and torment the person. Cami stared calling me Sherry, maybe that is because Sherry and I have the same kind of a voice. Sometimes I think Cami thought I was Sherry as she tried the attack mode on me, but I let her know that she wasn’t going to get away with attacking me.

When Frank retired he had no peace when it came to Cami as she would want to be with him as soon as he was in the house. Frank would just automatically pick her up when he was going to his lounge chair and he and Cami would take a nap together. Cami would sit on his chest and put her beak almost in his mouth she would be so close to him. She must have liked his warmth and warm breath. She would also get down in his lap and take his shirt in her beak and use her foot to lift Frank’s shirt up and then she would crawl underneath and go to sleep and would stay there until something spooked her or she was ready to come out after a little nap. She would also grab his shirt with her beak and start a scratching routine, and we figured she was trying to build a nest. She would do this for sometimes up to an hour. We finally had to get a towel for Frank to put over his shirt as she was putting holes in all of his good shirts.

She also would sit behind Frank’s computer and hiss at me when I came into the computer room. When I heard the can of air duster blasting, I knew that Cami was getting into mischief on Frank’s desk. When I came into the computer room to work on my computer, Cami would fly over to the back of my chair and put her head down for me to preen. She loved sitting on the back of my chair as I would sit and preen her while working on my computer.

We had a tree stand out on our patio and a bird hanging swing. When Frank mowed the lawn I would take Cami out to her tree stand and she would jump onto the hanging swing and hang upside down flapping her wings the whole time Frank was moving. It was fun to watch.

We bought a fifth-wheel travel trailer and Cami traveled all the way to Oregon with us. We had a plastic dishpan with a cement perch in it and that is where she would sit between Frank and I and she seemed to enjoy traveling with us close by her. When we had a condo she would travel with us in the truck or car and I had a cage for her at our condo. She didn’t like to travel at night due to her night vision and would make both Frank and I miserable with her running all over him and me. So we quickly learned that when she traveled with us we had better get to our destination before nightfall.

Cami entertained us with her tricks as she would jump up and down on the counter with her top feathers up, running back and forth whistling and saying “hello baby girl.” We taught her to lift her foot and say hello. She would show off and do this for friends, family, and the neighbor kids. She also did the Cockatoo dance as we called it, and would do it when I cued her with my finger going up and down. She would dance to music too.

Sometimes Cami’s screaming would get to Frank and he would chase her around her cage, on the floor, and all around the room with a flyswatter. Cami loved this as she though of it as a game. When it was over she would make it up to Frank by looking at him lovingly with those brown black eyes saying to him “Hello baby girl.” She would also greet him with the same phrase.

She spent the summer of 2008 with us in Ely, NV and I would sit outside with her. She loved being outside and would draw the attention of every passerby. We met a lot of people, and a lot of children because of Cami. They would come over to see her, talk to her, and pet her. When we were stopped at a gas station, or getting something to eat, or just driving down the road, people would be fascinated with her.

In the spring of 2008, Cami laid her first egg and ended up laying her fourth or fifth egg in Ely. I knew that this was very hard on her, and had started to give her calcium on her food. She had been having seizures and after I started giving her calcium, the seizures stopped. I knew that we had been told bad information about letting Cami eat anything we ate and off from our plates.

I started putting her in her bedroom cage when we ate, but soon she was back to eating out of our plates, even though I tried to only let her eat the good stuff we ate. In my heart I knew that Cami wouldn’t live to her full age because of the bad diet and the seizures she had. There were times I would look Cami in the eye and felt like she was telling me that she wouldn’t be around with us much longer.

I felt that with the medicines and extra things that I was giving Cami was bringing her back to good health. Her feathers were looking good, and she had stopped pulling her feathers out. So I was feeling pretty good about her health.

On November 15, 2008, we had Cami with us on the couch and she was bouncing back and forth between Frank & I screaming, whistling, and saying “hello Sherry.” She seemed to be in a very good mood, but she had thrown up some food on Frank, but we didn’t think too much of this as this is not an unusual thing for her to do. She had gotten into some of my Glucerna (a drink for diabetics) that morning and I had noticed her poop was a little runny. I didn’t think that she had ingested very much of the Glucerna. She was in a nesting mode again with the scratching routine on Frank’s lap and when she was close to laying an egg her poop would change so that is what I thought was going on with her. In fact I had been expecting to see Cami lay another egg.

I put Cami to bed around 6 PM that night as I tried to keep her in a routine. She was so wound up, but seemed to settle down when I put her in her night time cage. We left for a while and went over to my son Bret’s home and visited for a while. We got home somewhere around 8 PM and I had gone into the computer room to work on my computer. Frank was on his way to come into the computer room when we heard the most horrible scream out of Cami. I started to run into her room and Frank was just ahead of me. She let out a couple more screams before we got into her. Frank was first to get to her cage and uncovered it only to find her on the bottom of the cage. I was right behind him and said “did she lay an egg’?

She was in the last minutes of death and we both knew it. Frank was crying, petting her and saying “no baby girl,” and other things. We picked her up and brought her to the kitchen counter and just kept touching her hoping maybe she would come to life, but we knew that she was dead. I too was crying and talking to her, and her top feathers came up and she let us know that she knew we were with her in her final state of dieing.

We put Cami in a shoe box and decided we would burry her in our back yard. Frank made her a PVC pipe box and we put her in it and he glued both ends closed and wrote her name on it. He had just had knee surgery not too long before this, but he dug her grave with a shovel, and we put her in the hole and buried her. We said our goodbyes and told her how much we loved her. We think that Cami died of being egg bound, but we will never know for sure and I will always wonder if it was something I did. Was it the Glucerna, or the bad diet, or too much calcium? All I know is that what ever it was she was in a lot of pain to scream that loud. It breaks my heart to think about it.

We could hardly function as all we could think about was our beloved Cami. It was as though we had lost a family member. We dreamed about her, heard her, found feathers to remind us of her. Today is January 24, 2009 and has been just over a couple of months since we lost her. We still come in the back door expecting to hear her holler out to us wanting us to come to her cage and let her out as that was the routine. It has gotten a little easier, but we will always miss our “Baby Girl.” I know that there is a special place for our pets to go to and I know that Frank and I will be able to see her again some day on the other side. I am sure she has let us know that she is around at times. We do know that at this time we don’t want any more pets as this has been very painful to deal with. All I can say to end this is Goodbye Baby Girl, we love you Baby Girl, and some day we will see you again.

1 comment:

  1. You are such a good writer. I could feel your loss and enjoyed reading about your baby girl. She was very talented and you had such a closeness that I can see why you miss her so much. It is so very sad when we have to let go of a pet who has meant so much to us, but I too believe we will see them again. Hopefully, one day you will want to share the love you have with another one that will need you.
    God bless and have a great weekend.


Hi, thanks for dropping by my blog. It is a place for me to let my family and friends know what is happening in the daily lives of Frank and I. I appreciate your comments.