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Hello, my name is Betsy Lott (Oasis Sanctuary board member), I am telling you a very sad and disturbing story as relayed to me by the owner who wishes to remain anonymous.. Here is her story........





THE TRAGEDY

Charley, a Eleanora Cockatoo, attacked his mate, Claudia. He ripped off most of her lower beak, although the area where the beak joins the skin is still intact. The growth center may not be destroyed.

Claudia was lucky not to have lost her eyes as she had wounds near each eye. Her jaw is either broken or dislocated. The skull films will be taken Monday.

The tip and curve of her upper beak are intact. The left side is missing , the right side has a very large plate of beak material that is only attached near the skin. She appears to have wounds inside her mouth, as her mouth and tongue are quite swollen. She may have an injury beneath the tongue.

She has lacerations on the toes of both feet. The right foot has a serious wound on the bottom with a large area torn off and just hanging on. Both feet are very swollen. The right foot may also be broken. She evidently was on her back in a defensive posture trying to protect herself.

When I went into the aviary on Saturday morning, she was sitting on the perch in a corner nearest the water bowl. She allowed me to approach, which is very unusual. She was too weak and traumatized to move away. Gary was able to wrap her in a towel and remove her from the cage. She made no effort to escape.

Her beak and mouth were caked with old food. I suppose the real possibility of a massive bacterial infection from old food in the open wounds exists. This bird was the most pathetic sight I've ever seen. Her neck and chest feathers were wet and brown-red from the old blood.

There was NO blood on the papers below the cage. A single drop of blood would have alerted me to the possibility of trouble, but there was none. He may have done most of the damage in the nestbox. I haven't checked there yet. I've not been able to bring myself to chase him out or even look at him.

Gary took her to my avian vet in Cleveland. She is hospitalized and will be operated on on Tuesday. The vet tech, my friend Lisa, is tube feeding her. Lisa brought in some birdie bread and she was attempting to eat. Lisa is applying an anesthetic salve to her wounds and giving her medication for the pain. Claudia is also receiving antibiotics . Lisa said she was completely passive and made no effort to defend herself or escape.

Lisa said that she was thin. Charlie may have been keeping her from food, and then attacked her in her weakened condition. This attack occurred over several days, I suspect. The wounds were a couple of days old. Their food consumption appeared to be the same although they weren't eating as much pellets as previously.

I blame myself, of course. I have checked on them several times during the past week because of all the racket they were making. (She was fighting for her life).

I know that the sulfur crested males are noted killers. I watched them on closed-circuit TV day and night for the first 5 years that I had them. Noth-ing I saw gave me any indication that he would be a killer. They have been together 15 years and this was completely unexpected. I knew the risks but became complacent because of their behavior towards each other.

She will never be set up for breeding again. She may be too traumatized to ever breed again and I wouldn't put her in that position. So I will keep her.

I don't know if I will lose Claudia or not. The stress and the trauma may be too much for her. She will get any medical procedure that she needs regardless of cost whether she lives or dies. My vet is very experienced in dealing with this type of injury. She is in good hands. The techs are gentle, compassionate souls and will give her the care she needs during the week or so she is hospitalized.

Say a prayer for her - she deserves to recover from this horrific attack. She will be safe forever more, whether she lives or dies. - Name withheld

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(PART 2)

MEMORIES, PAIN, ANGER

Now I write about Claudia.

I watched on closed-circuit camera for so many years. Birds behave very differently when they don't know they are being observed.

She was quite a hopper. She took full advantage of the big cage. She hopped from perch to perch. She loved to hang from the top of the cage and display - wings flapping madly, twisting and screaming. She strutted around - self confident and sure footed.

She was such a good mother. Her babies were so fat their legs didn't touch the floor of the brooder. They were pink and healthy. She was a devoted mother. I remember the first time she had babies for me. I was afraid in spite of the reassurances I got from the previous owner, whom I knew and trusted. After I took the babies at 3 or 4 days of age, she was so distraught. She would be sitting on the perch and all of the sudden remember the babies. She would race over to the nestbox and look in the opening. You could feel the disbelief when she realized the babies were gone. She would try to look behind the nestbox along the side in case the babies might have managed to get out of the box. I felt so sorry for her and never again took the babies early.

She even saved and fed her crippled baby. The baby couldn't stand up because of a very early injury to her leg, but Claudia fed her as best she could. The baby was terribly stunted - eyes closed, no pins, underweight at 2 weeks of age. She lived, had an operation for her leg, underwent painful physical therapy, but she lived because of Claudia.

Now She is gone - and he remains in their big cage. In which corner was it that he trapped her and killed her? Was it in the nestbox where she faithfully incubated their eggs and brooded and fed their babies? Her feet were so terribly bitten because she was on her back - prepared to die. Did he rip off her beak and break her jaw after he penetrated her pitiful defenses?

How many agonizing hours - days and nights - did she hide from me? When finally she was too weak to hide, she began to die. When I finally had her, she was too far gone for even the healer's skill. Birds are so terribly fragile - their bodies and psyches can't handle physical aggression and injury. They fly away from danger and threatening behavior. They know their vulnerability.

He now eats the crumbled birdie bread that was the only food she could manage after he broke her jaw and tore apart her beak. He now drinks from the big cup where she bathed when hatching approached. He now enjoys the spacious cage where she played. He now hides in the nestbox where he began to kill her. Where is the telltale blood? Did the bedding soak it up? I can't look.

Claudia will be waiting for me - whole and beautiful as she was in life. The Rainbow Bridge will be our meeting place.

Last fall I wrote a letter "My Bird in a Gage". It was recalled to me by someone who wanted to print it in their club newsletter.


"My Bird in a Cage"




My "Bird in a Cage" will never fly over the devastated rain forest of his former home.

He will never search in vain for that dead old tree that would make a nest for his mate and their babies.

He and his mate will never drink from the polluted rivers of the old mining towns.

He and his mate will never be parrot soup, shot from the sky as they returned to the nest with full crops for their chicks.

He and his mate will never have to abandon their naked babies as a poacher cuts down the only dead tree in a hundred miles.

He and his mate will never see 70% of the year's babies die from hunger, disease or predation.

Yes, my bird gives this up for food, safety, comfortable living in a disease-free environment.

Who can know if it is worth it to him?




For Claudia and I, it wasn't worth it. The cost was her life. Her cage was her killing ground. - name withheld

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