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Spare a thought…

… for Polly the cockatiel, who was oh-so ungraciously omitted from YT’s immediate-family listing. A travesty indeed, for Polly is a very important and conspicuous part of the YT household. Particularly at the moment as she anxiously searches for a suitable nesting place.

Loyal Readers of this Space may recall a post a while back telling of the time when Polly outed herself as a girl after almost four years as a boy. (It was November 18 to be precise and I’d add a link for your convenience if I wasn’t such a techno-dud. Sorry.). No, Polly did not call a family meeting to solemnly deliver the news – rather she took the subtle approach and deposited an egg at the bottom of her cage. Further eggs were to follow, five in total, on which she devotedly sat for three weeks straight. Alas, by that point Polly had figured out that no little chickies were about to break through she shell to indulge her maternal cravings – seeing as how there was one rather important ingredient missing: the presence of a male.

And yet Polly – who incidentally has the run of the house, pretty much – was not about to give up and became a compulsive egg-layer. Eggs were found in selected locations – atop kitchen cupboards, still more in the bottom of the cage – and yet by then she’d clearly descended into a hopeless state of ‘oh-what’s-the-use’ and simply ignored her unfertilized offspring. Yet eggs kept being manufactured and – woe of woes! – getting stuck en route. Which obviously created a Serious Malfunction in the Polly metabolism. Very Serious. Our girl Polly was dying in increments. Because – and of this I was not previously aware – compulsive egg-laying is the most common cause of death in female cockatiels, as it places such an immense strain on their system.

Anyway. Long story short, Polly was put on the pill (in the form of hormone injection) and had her wings clipped (to prevent any wayward egg-laying on top of kitchen cupboards) and access to any suitable nest-making place (dark, secluded, quiet) was quickly blocked. Upon which Polly appeared to resign herself to a life of childless spinsterhood.

Until now. What with winter darkness once again upon us Polly has sprung into action, returning to her nest-making antics. Favoured places include the newspaper basket in the kitchen (in which she spends as much time as possible shredding paper to bits), a dark space in the corner behind the basket, and the little space behind her cage, next to the wall. Yet inevitably, as soon as she’s caught in the act, immediate action is taken to thwart her in her efforts. Which is more than a little sad, because after all she’s just doing what comes naturally – to the best of her (solo) ability.

So spare a thought for Polly. And wish her well.


‘Twas a good thing they evacuated those homes in the West Fjords because, as predicted, there was a snow avalanche. One building completely destroyed, another damaged, and six apartments in two separate apartment buildings also damaged. The forces of nature in this country must never be underestimated. Today we’re in for intermittent snow and a fair bit of wind, temps around freezing. Sunrise was at 11.14; sunset is due for 15.53.



Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Kim January 5, 2005, 12:20 pm

    Wow there is a lot involved in being a bird. Here I thought they just sat in a cage making unbearable noises all the time. Well I’m wrong again! LOL

  • witho January 5, 2005, 2:21 pm

    So, the gender reassignment worked a treat then… 😉

    I think it’s clear that the forces of nature cannot be underestimated wherever you are in the world

  • Alda January 5, 2005, 2:33 pm

    So true, Witho. I keep being seized by this feeling that everything I’m blogging about is so trivial when compared with what’s happening in south Asia.

  • Anonymous January 5, 2005, 4:22 pm

    Any chance of introducing a temporary mate to Polly? Even only once in a lifetime. Alda, Your Loyal Readers might like to know of your experience with owning birds that raised boods of young. Fellow readers, Polly is not the only bird in Alda’s life that has had experienced egg laying tendencies. Many bird owners would considered themselves lucky having birds that are willing to procriate. But so few are given the talent to create environment where captive birds feel secure enough to bring babies into this world.

  • Alda January 6, 2005, 10:43 am

    Um, no. Polly will unfortunately have to remain single and childless 🙂

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