Earlier this year, California was covered in rainstorms – one right after another. The sky was dark and grey, and the winds were so fierce that they blue the door of our water heater straight off.
One day, there was a break in the weather. Skies were blue again. The rain had (temporarily) stopped. The weather got a little bit warmer.
Our cockatiel, Lucy, perked up that day. She was sitting on my husband’s shoulders when she decided that now was the time to start shedding her down features.
I should note that Lucy is a white cockatiel. Her toes are pink, and her eyes are black. Years ago, we had another white cockatiel, whom we named Gordon. Both white birds appear to grow more down feathers than cockatiels of other colors.
As such, Lucy systematically removed some of her down feathers and dropped them. Most ended up on Shawn’s clothing, but a good number of them got scattered on the floor.
Before anyone worries, cockatiels will shed down feathers when they think spring has started. It’s normal for birds to do this. Lucy wasn’t sick, or stressed. She was just doing what birds do in springtime.
A few days after that, the rains returned. Not as hard as the previous round this time. The skies became grey one more, and Lucy went back to being super sleepy.
Recently, Shawn was asked to watch over the animals at his sister’s house so her family could take a vacation. I couldn’t go because I’m allergic to everything. And neither of us wanted to leave Lucy home, for days, by herself.
While Shawn was gone, the weather cleared up again. Lucy continued removing the down feathers that she didn’t need anymore. It was springtime, after all.
I watched her sit on a perch in her cage and use her beak to remove the no-longer-needed fluffy down feathers. She dropped them, one by one, to the bottom of the cage.
The white feathers collected together and resembled large snowflakes. There were a lot of them! I assumed this was the end of her molting season.
She continued removing the down feathers for days on end. Every day since then, more and more – not spring – feathers were removed and dropped. I started picking them up and dumping them back into her cage.
The other day, Lucy decided to come and sit on me. I usually put a towel on my shoulder for her to sit on. Somehow, she manages to knock the towel off me without me noticing.
This time, she wanted me to try and remove the itchy parts of feathers that are attached to her neck. Ones she cannot reach. I did my best to accommodate her.
And then, I realized I was covered in cast-off down feathers.
This story I wrote on Tumblr is a true story, and is not allowed to be copied.