Saturday, March 15, 2008

Fancy Fliers: Meet Linda's Birds

Linda and Sam: Male Eclectus

I met Linda Hemby, the Human Resource Director at Florida Wild Veterinary Hospital, many years ago. Over the years we have developed a friendship and often talk about our love for animals.

One of Linda's greatest passions is birds. She has an amazing ability to communicate with them, and they seem to adore her

Since Linda loves to share about her birds, I invited her to contribute a series of articles as a guest writer to talk about her birds and how she became involved with them. Bird lovers who visit this blog will be delighted to read about  her relationship with them. Here is the first of several installments to follow:

Part One:

"I’ve decided that I will never buy another bird because they will now always be a rescue.  I’ve become so passionate about them that I’ve begun to think breeding is wrong.  We’ve taken these beautiful creatures that were meant to be wild and flying free and conformed them to our world and to our rules. 

My husband and I will soon be building a house on 5 acres in Umatilla,Fl., and not only will I have a bird room with walls painted (by me) with tropical motif, but will have an attached aviary that any caged bird would be envious of. 

I’m learning more about foraging, which is what birds were meant to do in the wild.  I plan to have foraging trees in the aviary with as many safe tropical plants as I can, with foraging stations, natural limbs and branches for perching and napping, and hopefully some type of sprinkler system in there for “rain forest” bathing.  Because it’s an aviary there will be fresh air, sunshine and cool breezes for them to enjoy.

Two of the rescues will never be able to fly (due to bad feather condition) but the rest will become fully flighted, so as to be able to enjoy their lives as closely to that of their cousins in South America.

I currently have 6 birds.  My sweet little cockatiel had to be euthanized last week due to cancer.  Their stories will come in installments.

First is Sam.  He is a male Eclectus that is a severe feather plucker.  I’ve had him only a few short months but he has fallen in love with me and sees me as his mate.  I have to be very careful when he’s hormonal because he displays all the mating behaviors when I pick him up.  Those times it is only to give a quick hug and kiss and very quickly transfer him to a play stand with treats.  Otherwise, he tends to get sexually excited. 


I know very little about Sam other than his owners left him at the Daytona Flea Mall with a gentleman that tries to rehome orphaned birds.  Someone Judy (Florida Wild Veterinary Hospital Administrator) knows saw Sam and convinced the man to bring Sam to our office to try and place in a loving home.  Sam is such a sweet, affectionate bird and I was struck by how friendly he was to all the staff, never biting, and always holding on with a death grip when picked up.  He truly wanted to be loved.  (This was during one of his NON- hormonal periods.) 

I have no idea how old Sam is or how to contact the previous owners to get any information on him.  He had a leg band (which Dr. Holder.DVM, removed) and although I couldn’t read all the writing, it appeared to be an old one.

Dr. Holder did blood work on Sam to assure that he was disease free, which is very important to anyone that is bringing a bird into an environment with other birds.  I felt so sorry for him sitting in that cage day after day waiting for someone to look his way even for a brief moment.  He would sit patiently, eagerly accepting any brief encounter with a human.  Being a busy veterinarian’s office, our quality time with in house animals is limited.


It’s easy for me to gravitate to the birds when we get them.  I tried to make time for him every day that I worked.  Finally, on deciding he was probably unadoptable because of his very poor feather condition, I took him home to join my flock.

Sam is jealous of my other birds but I try to give each of them equal, out of cage, one on one time.  Their current bird room has heat and air, T. V. and radio, and huge windows to look out of.  It faces the water so they get plenty of things to gaze at. 

I’m currently involved in planning where they will go if anything happens to me because many of them will out live me.  It’s important that I find them wonderful loving homes while I’m still alive, rather than leaving my family to make that decision after I’m gone."

We will be bringing further stories about Linda's birds in the future. We do hope that you found this article interesting and informative. Thanks, Linda.

For the bird lovers reading this, what is your favorite thing about them and what drew you to them as companions? Leave a comment and share about your passion.


Anonymous said...

while I LOVE my 6 feline buddies, we all enjoy watching the cardinals, titmice, chicadees, juncos, bluejays, et etc etc that visit out feeders during the winter.

Soon the gold finches with return with their glorious colors...when I am down, one of the cats will frequently join me here in the computer room, looking out at the feeders.

I love when I leave for work and the chickadees sing to me... I love my remaining mourning dove that lost his /her mate a couple year ago. The woodpeckers have learned where to find my's truely a gift to feed these tiniest of God's creatures.

Anonymous said...

Birds live so long and so do the rest. I plan to live another 30 years so my horses will be waiting for me and I won't have to worry about them. Can't wait to see the rest of your gang and hear their stories. Are you saying that our birds also are having a hard time? Are there rescue places for them? Bless them and you!..:-)