|Kay of Winnipeg, Canada, writes about her amazing budgie, Sam ~|
In 1986 I bought a green and yellow budgie. Never did I dream that we would share 15 wonderful years with him. I named him Sam, inspired by the movie Casablanca, because he really came to life when music was played.
If Sam had a secret to longevity it would have to be playing with toys. He especially loved any toy with wheels and taught himself how to 'drive' them all over the kitchen, sometimes amusing himself for hours, never getting his toys stuck in a corner and even flipping them right side up when they landed upside down.
Sam absolutely loved to fly. We never clipped his wings so he was a fearless and very talented flyer. A favourite game was to race the humans in his flock and cut them off. He won every time. He never bothered to learn to talk, insisting instead that I learn 'budgie'. He must have been a good teacher because there is a budgie that I see now occasionally that goes wild chirping whenever I 'talk' to him!
Anything and everything electronic interested Sam. Television remotes, calculators, computer keyboards, radios, tape recorders, toy phones. He had incredible hearing, could recognize individual sounds, and as soon as he heard the slightest interesting noise he flew over to investigate.
While studying for my amateur radio license I spent many hours learning Morse Code. The dits and dahs held enormous appeal for Sam and his added chirps made it impossible for me to concentrate. I finally gave up trying to hear my lessons on speakers and thinking that I would fool him, switched to headphones. Never the one to be defeated, he sat on my headphones happily tapping along. Three days before he died Sam joined me at the radio, sitting on my shoulder as I talked to other hams in many different countries.
When he was almost eight he became very ill with a liver infection but with excellent veterinary care he pulled through. Never would I have imagined that I would have him another seven years. In the last few years he suffered with arthritis and my fiancé spent many hours designing and building new perches, ramps and playgrounds to make Sam's life more comfortable.
Sam had another "toy" -- a small alarm clock. This picture was taken in his declining years, but when he was more adventurous, he learned to knock the clock flat and shove it off the shelf, smashing it on the brick of the fireplace. Even worse, he discovered the switch on the back and with his persistent beak managed to move it, turning on the alarm. Quite annoying for a shift worker like me! My first solution was to set the alarm to a harmless time but I finally resorted to taking the battery out.
Sam was a very much-loved part of our family as any pet should be. Luckily we have wonderful memories and lots of excellent pictures of him, not an easy accomplishment since he loved to sit on the camera!
This budgie was a very interactive, intelligent and playful member of our family and he will live on in our hearts forever.
Story and photo's courtesy and © the author, first published 2003.