Posted by: Bonnie Anderson | July 11, 2011

A Bird in the Hand

Thanks for stopping by during my walk through life with pets in our family (see yesterday’s post for more info).  Here’s a glimpse of pet #1.

When Bob and I first were married we lived in a small apartment in Maryland, just outside of DC.  We had both grown up with pets in our homes, but a dog or cat was out of the question in our apartment building.  We could own a bird though.  My family had always had a budgie (short for budgerigar and more commonly known as a parakeet). 

Bob and I went to Woolworth’s pet section and found a selection of birds.  We picked out one and watched the young girl working there try to get her nerve up to get it out of the cage for us.  After quite a battle, which the bird was winning, I stepped in and stuck my hand in the cage and snatched our bird out.  I’d been raised around birds – no big deal. 

Anyway, Bob and I set up a cage with everything our little Buddy would need – food, water, a swing and a seed bell hanging from the top of his cage.  The problem was the seed bell was too high for him to reach so we had the brilliant idea of taking the little ball bearing chain off a pair of nail clippers and using it to lower the bell.  It worked perfectly and before we knew it, Buddy was climbing on the bell and chowing down on his treat.

A couple of days passed and one night Bob and I were having dinner when all of a sudden Buddy started flailing and flapping around his cage.  We looked up and there he was – hanging from that little chain like it was a noose.  He had eaten all the seed and was playing on it.  (No matter how many times we had told him not to put his head through the chain he did.)  If you’re not familiar with birds let me explain the problem – the head goes through just fine as the feathers lie down nicely as thrust through the chain.  When he tried to pull his head out, he was going against the feathers so they did not cooperate.  Therefore, he was hanging like a condemned man in an old western.

Bob jumped up, opened the cage and held Buddy so that he wouldn’t complete his accidental suicide attempt.  Remember that I mentioned we were newlyweds and lived in an apartment.  That means that we had no tools, save a screwdriver.  I ran next door to get help from our neighbor, whom I had never met, and pounded on the door.  When he answered I practically yelled in his face, “Please, help me.  Do you have any wire cutters?  Our bird is trying to hang himself.”

Thankfully, he took me seriously and did have wire cutters.  He saved the day and Bob was able to free our little bird.  We all came out of it relatively unscathed, though Buddy did look a little pale.  It was a unique way to meet our neighbors.


  1. That’s too funny! I think Derek would be very satisfied if one or both of our birds decided to commit suicide. I think he’s trying to figure out a way to put them on mute cause when he comes out to have his quiet time each morning that’s when they are loudest (they pipe in equally loud during prayer time in homegroup)!

    • Tell him God’s creatures are praising Him. I do love the sound of birds singing, but budgies can be very loud chirpers. We used to keep water handy to squirt them if they got too loud.

  2. Haha! I’ve never heard this story! You tell it so well, as usual! 🙂

    • Thanks, Debi. Hard to believe that was 35 years ago!

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