As I write this post, Katie, Gabby and Snowball are on a plane heading to the Seattle, WA airport. They will be picked up by Lori Rutledge, who runs Cockatoo Rescue & Sanctuary, where the three birds will be living out the rest of their lives. They will be living in huge flights with their own kind. Katie and Gabby are Moluccan Cockatoos that have lived with us since 2000 and 2004 respectively. Snowball was a surrender who is not interested in living among humans. It is a great day for the girls and Snowball - they will finally be able to live as close to being in the wild as possible in captivity. I am so happy for them. But I've been crying since they left this morning.
Katie has been my girl for 13 years. I love that bird so much. We've been thru hell together. She bit me so hard in the chest when she first came to us it took me a month to heal. She learned to trust, she learned to like men. She loved to go on PR visits with us. But something was missing because a couple years back she started to mutilate. The syndrome is actually called Moluccan Mutilating Syndrome, although it can happen with any type of bird. She'd get better and then go two steps back. About 10 days ago, on a Friday, I went to check on her and there was blood all over the cage. She opened herself back up again.
Lori Rutledge told us that the mutilators usually heal up once they are in a flock environment. I've been talking with her on and off about this for about a year or more. When I saw Katie on that Friday I knew the time had come.
Gabby is also a mutilator, and she and Katie have lived next to each other for a long time. So we decided it was best that they go together. Gabby didn't like to leave the shelter, if we tried to take her out she would instantly start to chew on her neck. She took a liking to Jess, who is one of our volunteers extraordinaire, and loved when Jess would come and play with her. She also loved Steve, another volunteer, who would bring her treats on Saturdays. However, again, after all these years she was still mutilating as well.
I'm sure Jess and Steve and a lot of the other volunteers are grieving today cuz we're missing our best girls, but we all know in our hearts it was the right thing to do. Have fun, girls, and we expect reports from Lori in a few months that you're all healed up and loving being in a flock of birds for the first time in your lives.