Elisabeth McKechnie (Librarian, University of California at Davis Law Library)
My pets have always been birds, from the duck I had as a child to the string of parakeets during adolescence. But the bird who changed my life is Coco, the Cockatiel. Feisty, loving, tame and cuddly, I was given him as an adult and he was the beginning of my volunteer work fostering homeless and abused parrots. Researching Cockatiel care, I found out that I was feeding him wrong and that he could live to be 35 years old, instead of the 10 years I expected. I also discovered Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue and saw pictures of all the abused, sick and homeless birds they saved.
I was hooked and as a volunteer have since fostered countless birds while my husband teaches bird care classes. My birds are unique individuals, each with its own personality and needs.
As a law librarian at UC Davis School of Law, I was able to audit the Animal Law course taught by Jerry Tannenbaum of our Veterinary School and learned much more. Jerry still sends his students to me for help with their papers and was able to help me obtain behavioral vet care for my own adopted bird, Princess, who plucks her own feathers. We originally took in Princess as an emergency foster bird. Her owner, who’d had her for 11 years, was moving and didn’t think anyone would want a plucked bird. The vet he took her to for euthanization talked him into Mickaboo instead. Bill and I were to be her emergency foster parents, but she wrapped us around her little claw and we’ve adopted her. I can’t think of a more beautiful or loving bird; she lights up our home.
My home flock currently consists of two foster birds, Big Bird, a female blue and gold macaw and Milo, a male Cockatiel. My own adopted birds are Coco, a male Cockatiel, age 22 and still going strong and Princess, our plucked Nanday Conure.