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Milla, adopted on 05/26/07, † 19/10/10
One Saturday morning in May 2007 I went to the local animal shelter in the town of Essen. A friend of mine is a voluntary worker there and I promised her to take some photos of bunnies and other small animals. These photos were intended to be published on the animal shelter's web site. We hoped that the photos would help to find a fond new home for the animals. Due to my health problems I haven't been to the animal shelter for several weeks. Therefore I haven't heard about the fate of a poor budgie who arrived at the animal shelter in the beginning of May 2007. The poor olive-green, delicate female bird was frightened and still suffering from the after-effect of a severe infestation with burrowing mites. I first saw this poor bird when I entered the bird room where I wanted to take a photo of a parrot. The female budgie was trembling from fear. Her cere and beak showed scars caused by the mites and also her eyelids were injured due to the parasites. It was a heart-wrenching sight...
On the fourth of May this pitiful little creature has been found by some pedestrians just a few hundred meters away from where I live. Milla has been fluttering through the street and then crashing into a traffic sign. After the crash she fell to the ground where she lay numb and scared. The people were able to catch her and they immediately brought her to the animal shelter. Fortunately she fell to the pavement because it was a busy road. Just one meter to the left and she would have been killed by a car... Shortly after she arrived at the animal shelter, the budgie hen was examined by a vet and she got some medicine to get rid of the burrowing mites. Her nose (cere), beak, legs, cloaca and also her eyes were covered with scabs caused by the tiny insects and Milla was underweight. It seems as if the infestation must have begun a long time ago since her skin has been seriously injured. One toe had died off, she must have lost it shortly before since the scar wasn't quite old. The worst thing is that her eyelids have been partially destroyed by the mites - they will never grow back. Therefore the bird is disabled, Milla suffers from something like the "dry eye syndrome" which is known in humans.
Handicapped birds don't find a new home easily - especially when they are not tame at all and fear everyone who approaches them. So Milla's fate was uncertain. And to be honest: Because of her frazzled eyelids and the scars on her cere and beak she wasn't what people desire - a cute little bird with big eyes and a funny behaviour. She would need a special care since her eyes dry up quickly, that was what came on my mind at first. I have much experience in caring for disabled birds and I felt so sorry for this poor budgie. To be honest I couldn't believe it when I heard myself say these words to one of the staff members of the animal shelter: "Please prepare the adoption form, I will take her home." This was the voice of my gut instinct, my common sense would have said something completely different. There were so many birds living at my place and it already took too much time to care for them (I had a hard job far away from where I lived these days). But I really couldn't leave this wretched budgie lady stranded.
At first, Milla had to stay in quarantine for a while. I wanted to be sure that the burrowing mites have completely vanished and I also let a vet examine her droppings. Often birds who escaped their former owners become infected with roundworms in our nature. But Milla was lucky, there were no signs for a roundworm infestation. In June I was completely sure about her health status and I could let her move into my bird room. At first, she was puzzled and seemed not to understand what has happened to her. She feared the other birds and I think that happened because she has been kept solitary by her former owner from whom she managed to escape a while ago. When the other birds approached her, she took flight in panic and afterwards hid somewhere in a corner of the bird room. Fortunately she soon found out that the other birds won't do her any harm and she calmed down. About a week later, she tried to make friends with the other birds and started to behave like a real budgie.
Since she has become a member of my flock, she became more self-confident each day. After a little while she seemed to have forgotten that she once went through hell and back. She never became a tame bird, but this didn't matter anyway. The most important thing was that she felt happy. And in spring 2009, she finally found someone to love: Ravi. He is a very lively and friendly bird who caressed her all day long and brought her food - something she really loved about him, I guess. ;-)
Regrettably, in October 2010, Milla suddenly became very ill. I took her to my vet because I wanted to know what was going on. And he made a shocking discovery: Milla suffered from a large kidney tumour. There was no hope and we couldn't do anything for her but make her leave without any further pain. So my vet put her to sleep and I felt so sad afterwards because right before we left the house this day, she was chirping and Ravi was answering. And I said: Milla, don't worry, you will soon be back. How could I have known that she was so terribly ill? I will never forget this shy and friendly little bird.
Milla's colour mutation is called normal olive-green. I have no idea how old Milla was when she moved into my birdroom. But this wasn't important anyway.
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