12 December 2010

Lennon's Nightmare Before Christmas

At 3am last night it sounded like Lennon was trying to fly laps inside his cage, in the dark. He was squealing and flapping and ringing all of the little bells that dangle from his plethora of toys. I ran out to check on him and he was in complete panic. Lifting the blanket off his cage did nothing to calm him down. He was trying to escape whatever his mind had conjured in the middle of the night.

It was Lennon's first night-fright in a long time. Cockatiels are particularly known for them, and Lennon has had them in the past. They become so panicked, trying to escape an imagined threat, that they can hurt themselves in their erratic flapping and falling. There is the risk of a broken wing or neck, or tangled up foot, but they can also break a blood feather. Blood feathers are new feathers that are just coming in, and are still just a quill filled with blood. If they break one, they can bleed to death quickly. For this reason, night-frights are dangerous and it is important to calm them down quickly.

When I opened Lennon's cage door I managed to cup my hand around him briefly to keep him still and check him for injury. He had none that I could see, and I pulled him out of his cage. He took off flying and calling loudly. There was plenty of light in the room, so he could navigate okay, and I think it did him good to get some energy out and see that he was okay. He ended up landing on the Christmas tree.

He stepped-up on my hand from the tree and I took him over to the couch. He was on high-alert still with his crest straight up and his head whipping back-and-forth methodically. Concerned that his fright may have something do with not being able to see his favorite person, I took him in to see see Ms. Flock Advisor in the bedroom. We both tried to calm him down, but he remained on edge. I took him back out and we sat on the couch together until about 6am when Ms. Flock Advisor came out to get ready for work, and found me asleep, with Lennon perched calmly near me.

Lennon got to go back to his cage and get a couple more hours of sleep. Ms. Flock Advisor noticed that the blinds had been left open all night on one window. A shadow or a passing car could have been what triggered his fright. We will be sure to close the blinds for him from now on. We might also have to really emphasize the next time that the Grinch does give the Christmas tree and roast beast back to the Whos, so he really isn't a scary guy at the end.

Sprite was barely stirred by all of the commotion. He mumbled a little, but went right back sleep when the noise subsided.

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