Farewell, Yo-Yo parakeet

I drank too much coffee yesterday and didn’t get to bed until almost midnight, which was fine, and allowed me to appreciate those dark, quiet hours deep in the night. I miss those. When I first started working as a picker in the Stitch Fix Bizzy Hizzy, I worked 3:30 p.m. to midnight and I really loved the shift.

I think I’m naturally solar-powered so to wake up with the sun out and spend the brightest portion of the day doing my own thing meant a lot to me. At 2 p.m. I would drink a coffee and head to work. And since I don’t tend to be very productive after the sun goes down, using those hours at a job in a warehouse suited me just fine.

But last December, we lost our shift and had our choice of moving to traditional day hours or what they called four-10s. We worked from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. four days a week and had three days off. I selected the Sunday to Wednesday cohort, as the teenager was still in high school and that fit our life.

Now, the four-10 cohorts are being aligned to a Wednesday to Saturday schedule and I opted to go Monday to Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. This has already caused upheaval and it doesn’t start until Monday. This has been a lot of babble, but I guess my point is, for a few hours last night, it felt like the way things used to be.

But I was woken at 5 a.m. today by a sound no bird-owner ever wants to hear. I have one remaining male green parakeet whom I call Yo-yo. He’s been acting unlike himself for a day or two, and he had no voice. He would just open his beak and make this scratchy chirps. And he was hiding.

I had suspicions the kittens had gotten him. No proof, but a hunch. He has recently learned to jailbreak his cage, and last week, I found him on a windowsill. He flew back to his cage when I opened the door (he had squeezed out through the water bowl entrance). And I didn’t think much of it.

He repeated this yesterday. And I opened the door. But with everything happening, I forgot to make sure he was in the cage and safe when I went to bed. And the Teenager even confirmed that he was still out when last we spoke around 11 p.m.

When I turned my light out for the night, he was sitting on top of his cage. I had been waiting for him to go in. You see, before my fostering journey, I would periodically let them all free fly. I had three at that time. It was magnificent to watch them swirl around my room.

So when I went to bed, and turned out the light, he went to sleep. Birds, like me, are solar powered. As soon as the darkness hits, they sleep.

And I have four kittens in my room. Not fully-socialized, born outside kittens.

Now normally, when the kittens try to climb the bird cages, my Goffin’s cockatoo, Nala, attacks their feet through the bars. But this time, they managed not to wake Nala.

At 5 a.m., I woke to the flapping of wings and a strangled screech. I flipped on the light to see the three oldest kittens of the “random litter” gathered around Yo. One of the boys grabbed Yo, snarling, and dashed under the bed. Now they are fighting over my bird. Feathers everywhere. Jean-Paul Sartre, the sweetheart foster rescued as a tiny kitten, sprints under the bed, under whoever has Yo and snatches Yo.

It is from Jean-Paul that I grab Yo, but it is too late.

I can only hope his death was quick. And that he forgives me for failing him.

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