Piper went through a lot in his first six years, at one point he was part of a family with three other parrots, then surrendered to a bird rescue caring for over 200 birds. He was hatched in Florida and lived in New Jersey and New York, and these are just the locations we know about.
As is to be expected, there was an adjustment period for all of us when he adopted my husband and I and, quite honestly, it took more time than I expected for trust to be gained. But as with all healing and recovery, it took as long as it took and could not be rushed.
Piper has been with us now longer than he hasn’t and has us trained to his whim and his will. Yesterday, he bit me. The chomp was not the chomp of years ago when he was unsure of yet another new environment and unfamiliar people. I was insisting he “step up” onto my finger and, well, he didn’t want to. In his defense, I surprised him and sometimes his flight or bite instinct causes a lunge. I should know better than to have startled him. After all, our relationship is a two-way perch.
Piper is sweet and cuddly. He will sit on my finger or shoulder for long periods of time, preening his feathers or my hair, purring contentedly, eyes heavy with sleep. But he is also a spitfire; his spirit has not been broken by the upheavals of his life. As he perched on my hand only seconds after the nip, cleaning himself, I admired his spunk. He is, for all intents and purposes, who he always was, with the soft edges only love and security can bring about.
I have been struggling emotionally these last few months, feeling unmoored and sad for the majority of 2019. My therapist, friends and husband have been there for me, offering support and understanding. And with the minor sting of a beak, I had a major realization. If I am looking for an inspiring example of strength and resilience, I need not look further than my stinging finger.
*** Photo credit: Auntie D