Lily's Story

Lily's Story
Thank you to our guest writer Danielle for her story about Lily.

My name is Danielle and I just recently turned 16. I have two Cockatiels, Mikey and Zoey. I also have a Lovebird, Lily, and this is her story.

I found her in my local pet store at the end of November 2002. The pet store owner knew I took in birds with people problems (that is where I got Mikey - he didn't like pet store life and no one would buy him because of his...quirky attitude).

Lily had been dropped off at the pet store a few weeks before, badly neglected. Her owners had gone through a messy divorce and the woman just couldn't deal with the responsibility. Her cage hadn’t been cleaned in four months and she was bald from stress. She was also skinny from lacking of proper diet. Her nickname at the store was Misery; she attacked anyone and everyone who tried to touch her.

After the owner of the pet store told me the situation she took me to the back to see Lily (Lily is two years old). My heart broke as I saw her shaking and cowering under a cardboard box. For some reason, we clicked. I took her home a few days later. When I first brought her home, she made her food last for over five days, and drank her water sparingly. Perhaps she was afraid that if she ate it all at once that she wouldn't be fed again for a while. (I am now happy to report that she loves her food and has turned into a regular little piggy).

She also only went to the bathroom in one specific part if the cage, a result of not having a clean living area for long periods of time. The past 5 months have been a struggle, but she now talks to me whenever I'm in the room (I home school). She loves to fly from her cage to my shoulder or hand and then fly back again, Lily has never been afraid of me. She also loves music (her favorite is classical) and taps her beak on the cage bars to the beat of the music .Her feathers are growing back. She is so beautiful (she is a creamy-albino) although I suspect that some will never grow back because of some self-mutilation.

Lily has a favorite toy, the only one she will actually play with. It is a cat ball with a bell inside it. She will spread her wings out and push it with her beak all around her cage; she can do this for up to half an hour. For the first time last week, she let me pet her without biting me, in fact, she seems to enjoy it.

Lily is an escape artist; she simply loves the challenge of finding new ways to get out of her cage. Fortunately she can’t figure out how to open clips (we shall see how long that lasts). She hates being forced to have a bath, the only way she’ll take one is if I open her cage door and leave a full glass of water next to it. She hops up on the rim and dips her head in the water and rubs the wet part of her head all over her body.

She still runs into her box and quivers whenever someone comes into the room, but once she identifies the person as someone she knows, she'll waddle out of her box (she sleeps in the box at night) and start chirping. Her chirping is more like talking; she lets me know how she is feeling by using different chirps. Lily cries too, it really sounds like human weeping. She cries when I have to clean the blood off of her when she self mutilates. I feel bad for making her cry, but I’m as gentle as possible. (I’m studying to be a vet tech so I have had a lot of experience cleaning wounds from working at a vet’s office).

She is still afraid to be covered at night, I suspect that she was covered for most of the time in her old home. Lily is an amazing bird and has made so much progress; she has a special place in my heart.


In September Lily started to get really lonely so after some hard looking I found a buddy for her. Her name is Lou and the both of them love each other to pieces. Lou has brought out the good side of Lily. Together the two of them have devised numerous ways of escaping from their cage. I am in the process of building them an aviary. I have also added three more Cockatiels to my zoo (I built them an aviary in the summer of ‘03). Two I raised from 4 days old, and another I found in a pet store (what a sweetheart!!!).

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

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to drop by the Bird Forum anytime (see the most recent topics below), or join the Bird Chat on Saturdays at 9:30 eastern time, 8:30 central time and 6:30 pacific time.

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