Cecil's Story

Cecil's Story
At the time in this story, I was a divorced single mom with two teenage sons. I had very little experience in caring for a bird and knowledge of what was safe, etc. I was also on a very limited income.

I was preparing dinner for us and started to boil water for some macaroni & cheese. The telephone rang in the other room and I went to answer it and was gone too long. The pan (teflon) boiled dry and that's the start of the disaster. I had a Nanday conure at the time as well as Cecil, the Cockatiel.

Now, I know this is wrong (although I didn’t know it at the time), but the birds were in the kitchen. While I'm still preparing dinner, I look over at the conure and he is acting strange. His head is drooping and he looks like he is going to fall off his perch. I call my son and before we are able to get him out of the cage, he drops to the bottom. I pick him up just in time for him to take his last gulp of air. I was so upset by this because this guy was my best buddy at the time. At this time Cecil is still acting like himself. We do move his cage into the other room and we are mourning the Nanday's death. Also, by now, I realize that I killed my bird.

Within an hour of the incident, we noticed that Cecil was shaking. So no more time to mourn the conure. We get Cecil from his cage and wrap him in a dishtowel to keep him warm, but his condition goes downhill quickly. Within minutes, he is having a seizure and we just know that he is going to die, also. He's unable to stand and is basically trembling uncontrollably. My son and I stayed up (taking turns) and kept him wrapped in the towel with a heating pad to try to comfort him. I went to the drug store and purchased droppers, baby food, and the electrolyte liquid that you use when your baby is sick. I administered baby food and liquids to him with the dropper because he couldn't eat or drink. I had no experience with hand feeding a bird so it's a miracle that I didn't kill him trying to do this.

By the second day, I can't say he was improving, but he's still alive. So we continue this procedure throughout the day and night. By Monday, he's still alive and seems to be showing improvement. I had to report to work but I was able to come home and make sure he was still warm and tried to get a few drops of liquid and food into him. I continued to do this and each day he got stronger. If my memory serves me correctly, I think he was able to stand by the 3rd or 4th day. Probably within a week he was eating soft food. The seizures stopped after the second day.

Eight years later, Cecil is still with me. Even though, I could not afford to take him to the vet, it was not his time to go. It did permanent damage to him because since this incident he has plucked feathers under his wings until he is bald and sometimes mutilated. He also pulls a few feathers on his shoulders and he is not the same mentally. He is wild and absolutely hates to be touched. I have to use a towel to remove him from his cage, but once out, he will step up to me when asked. He had extremely loose stools for a year or two, but now that is normal. I've had him to the vet several times since this happened, and they can find no diseases. They say his problems are probably related to the poisoning incident. He's a happy bird and doesn't appear to be in pain so I accept the fact, that my little baby boy is not going to stop plucking and he is not going to let me cuddle and love him. I let him tell me what he tolerates and that's it. I would love to cuddle and pet him but he gets really angry with me. He's in the same room with the other birds, but he has his private space near the windows and the big birds are not allowed to go into that space. Cecil demands his private area and I feel he deserves that much.

Here is a picture of Cecil today. He had his Angel looking over him back then. He's such a pretty little bird and I can't tell you how much I love this little guy.

Thanks for telling Cecil's story Irene. We can't warn people enough about the danger of teflon fumes.

After many years of pet bird ownership, I have decided to write e-books about the care of some of these wonderful birds.

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