When I was in high school, my little sister loved birds. Every year, a bird was at the top of her Christmas list. Finally, when she was in third grade, our parents bought two fancy cockatiels, a male and a female, from a breeder. She named them Tweety and Chirpy, respectively.
We tried training Tweety, the male, to talk (female tiels can’t talk) but with no success. The male frankly seemed dull, and less active than the female. But, my sister loved them both very much (and so did all of us).
Like I said, the male was duller. He didn’t play with toys, sing, etc. as much as the female. However, he did like to be cuddled and petted for long periods of time. “He really likes you”, my sister always said. And after not long, I became pretty fond of him.
One night I was in the kitchen to get a snack when I heard scurrying. I turned the lights on and it stopped. I told my parents and they bought mousetraps the next day, but they never caught anything. We never found any mouse droppings or anything.
A couple nights later, I woke up to the sound of the Tweety and Chirpy making noise. I went out to the living room where we kept their cage to calm them down. Then I heard the scurrying again. Then I heard the male say something that I couldn’t make out. Even so, I was excited that he had finally started talking. I figured there was no point in trying to catch the mouse, so I went back to bed.
I woke up again to calm down the parakeets. Once again, I heard the scurrying noise. The tiels seemed more agitated this time, and were flying around their cage. At one point the scurrying came close and I even thought I felt something brush across my shoe. My sister woke up and was able to calm them down, so we both returned to bed.
I woke up to their screaming a third time. This time I just stayed in bed, since I remembered having read that cockatiels can develop behavioral problems if you let them start demanding attention by making noise, and that the best way to deal with unwanted noise from them is to ignore it. After a while, the noise stopped and I fell back asleep.
I woke up at around 5:30 that morning to go to school. I knew I was going to be tired all day, so I made myself some coffee. While it was heating, I went to take the cover off the bird cage…
The male was dead. He was lying on the floor of the cage, with his head severed. The female was nowhere to be found. Horrified, I woke up my parents. We hid the male and told my sister that they had both flown away. We even had her help us put up posters. She still doesn’t know what really happened.
A couple years later, our washing machine broke down. We found the skeleton of the female behind it when we were moving it. We buried her next to the male in our flower garden. We now have two budgies.
By the way, we never caught the mouse.