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This Bird Has Flown - Bless You, Billy

By Ashleylister @ashleylister
This Bird Has Flown  -  Bless You, Billy
 

A recent episode of the new All Creatures Great and Small took me back to my childhood. The story included a blue budgerigar, left at the vet’s surgery for minor treatment, to be collected later by the owner, a blind lady. Spoiler alert – skip the rest of this paragraph if you don’t want to know what happens. Sadly, the budgie chooses this excursion to fall off his ornithological perch, expired. Rather than give the lady bad news, the vet decides to replace her pet with another and is sure she won’t know the new budgie is a green one. The small detail of the blue one never singing and the green one being very chirpy was overlooked, otherwise all was well in the end.

One day when I was a young child, I came home from school to find a new addition to the family. In the sitting room, in a cage hooked on to one of those bird-stands, a pretty, pale blue budgerigar was tutting to its reflection in its own vanity mirror, head going side to side. I was in awe, it was so sweet and I loved it straight away. We named him Billy. My dad took charge of his care but showed me how to top up Billy’s seeds, give him fresh water and wedge a piece of cuttlefish shell between the bars of the cage to rub his beak on. I was thrilled to have another pet. We had a dog that liked his own company and a cat that was always pregnant or nursing kittens, so it was better to leave her alone. I could stand and talk to Billy, tell him about school and how I was doing. I was shocked to go to the cage after school one day and find a green budgie. My dad told me Billy had matured. He said all budgies started off blue and turned green into adulthood. Of course, I believed him I had no reason not to. Many years later the truth came out. Bless him for saving my tears. I have read that some types of budgies do change color as their feathers are replaced, but this tends to be a shade darker, or a mix.

Lovely Billy, blue or green, long gone but remembered with fondness and All Creatures Great and Small gave me a happy memory.

Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,

The free bird leaps

on the back of the wind

and floats downstream

till the current ends

and dips his wings

in the orange sun rays

and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks

down his narrow cage

can seldom see through

his bars of rage

his wings are clipped and

his feet are tied

so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings

with fearful trill

of the things unknown

but longed for still

and his tune is heard

on the distant hill

for the caged bird

sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze

and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees

and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn

and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams

his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream

his wings are clipped and his feet are tied

so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings

with a fearful trill

of things unknown

but longed for still

and his tune is heard

on the distant hill

for the caged bird

sings of freedom.

Thanks for reading, Pam x

 

This Bird Has Flown  -  Bless You, Billy
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