A sad end, 1970 – Dec 2014, farewell friend

On the 14th December 2014 our close companion of over 40 years had to be put to sleep.Image

We called him Claudius, an Amazon parrot.

Living close to a parrot is not like the popular stereotypes nor the same as at a distance in an aviary.

He didn’t talk as such, he was rather quiet but not mute. Most days he was able to fly in the house, I won’t clip wings. There are of course many anecdotes, maybe one day, for now they are memories.

The emptiness is silence instead of a greeting, a gap where once… everyone here seems stunned.

In times past you might have found the two of us asleep, me perhaps in a chair, he snuggled on my shoulder. I seem to have taken it very hard maybe in part because I worked at home for many years and the preference of Claudius, they tend to bond with one person.

A year or so ago Claude lost the use of a foot, his legs had been troublesome always, probably from an early injury.

Fortunately we live within a sensible distance of one of the foremost avian vets, Neil Forbes who runs Great Western Exotics. This is the team, a really nice bunch of people.

Neil took a blood test and carried out an x-ray, taking the trouble to show me. He concluded there was a broken tendon, nothing can be done but the details were unclear. Given the age of Claudius he was otherwise in fine fettle, the only thing to help was some medication, actually as used for dogs, the dose though is difficult, based as usual on body mass but even the weakest available is still hard to meter.

Claudius slowly came to terms with a crippled foot, was very difficult and of course we did all we could. He flew much less, partly I think because landing became difficult.

In hindsight he was fading and then a week or so ago he suddenly lost the use of his other foot. I won’t go into the details but it was desperate for him and for us. With close care he recovered a little but late last week things became very difficult. We were going to take him to the vet on Monday, then on Sunday morning, no, telephoned the vet and yes bring him in. GWE run 24/7, it is in effect a hospital.

Daniel Carrasco was on duty. He could see the situation. He was kind and patient slowly helping us reach the decision on whether heroics were the right route. We already knew this might be the fateful day.

It fell to Daniel, one of the worst parts of the job.

Thank you Daniel.

Saturday December 20th, a fair winter day.

By the wild hazels he loved

By the wild hazels he loved


And then the most spectacular sunset in years

And then the most spectacular sunset in years

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