Tuesday, January 04, 2011

My Feathered Rainbow

aka Mr. Underhill
Yeah, we're Tolkien fans.  And Frodo would burrow under my vest or sweater when he was a baby--hence his name.

We had him since he graduated from nest to cage bottom.  The Queen Mother's former neighbor was a parakeet lover and incidental breeder (leave twenty male and female parakeets together in a large cage and eventually you'll have more than twenty).  In the mild California climate, they lived outdoors year round.  I'd never seen any parakeets colored quite like hers and I was thrilled.  See all the color in Frodo's wing?  Most parakeets a la PetSmart have gray wings.  Sunshine yellow head.  And his face dots--deepest purple. Turquoise and glacier green body.  Intense cobalt tail feathers.  And as sweet as he was beautiful.

Frodo enjoyed getting the run of the house while I baked Christmas pie, kneaded bread and cooked cranberry sauce.  Most of the time he perched on my hair and supervised, but he decided to stretch his wings and inspect the Christmas decorations too.

Four days after this photo session, we found him on the bottom of his cage.  He'd flown to heaven and left us behind.  He had a good long life, but it was a sad end to our year.

I've spent the past week remembering his baby days when he'd cuddle...how he'd perch on my shoe while we sat in the recliner and watched TV...how he loved baths under the kitchen faucet...his extensive environmental vocabulary--our squeaky door, dog whistles, tinkling bells...his love of spinach leaves which he ate like a kid munching corn on the cob...trying his best to chat with our vacuum cleaner and blender...times when callers would ask how many birds we had when talking on the phone...how he played with silverware and loved getting it to drop off the dining table...how the frustrated dad in him would have him feeding the next best thing to a baby bird--the shiny bell in his cage...his appreciation of the tiny rhinestones in my reading glasses.  He wasn't our family's first parakeet, but he was my first.  Thinking about it, he would have been special even if he wasn't--he was an extraordinary character.

How can such a little bundle, weighing next to nothing, have been such a large part of our lives?

I miss you,  Frodo-bug.


  1. Oh...so sorry to hear that you lost your Frodo. He sounds like he was a very special bird. I've always wanted a bird but thought with all my dogs...it would not be fair. Your's was so pretty. I know you feel like there is an empty spot in your life without him.

  2. Oh he was beautiful and sounds like a real character. I used to have a couple of cockateels and they used to imitate the phone ringing. They had us up at all hours of the night.

    I'm really sorry your little Frodo is gone.


  3. Pogonip, sorry to hear of your loss... pets become such a fixture in our lives and part of the family- quirks and all. I am sure your lovely boy will be sorely missed. xo

  4. Oh so sorry to hear about Frodo.It's really difficult to lose a pet. We have some little zebra finches that are trying to start a family-so far unsuccessfully.

  5. I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved Frodo. I have to admit I am deathly afraid of birds but your testimony of how special your little buddy was melted my heart. I do believe Frodo would have been the bird to help me get over my fear. He sounds very special.

  6. Oh, dear little Frodo! I am so sad... I've had many dear little parakeets and nothing is so sweet as the sound of their chattering away at their mussed up little mirrors. I am glad he had a long, happy life.... that makes it easier to bear.

  7. Birds are amazing pets. So sorry about Frodo. I've never had a parakeet...only canaries...but I hear they are wonderful pets. I had a friend that left hers free to roam the house too. Will you be getting another? If so I hope you'll be able to find one as beautiful as Frodo was.
    Hugs to you.