First, I would like to say thank everyone for the outpouring of well wishes after my visit to the vet two weeks ago. Second, I wanted to update everyone on my health: I'm fine! I bet you want to know how. How can I, Leo Peepers, have been acting so strangely that I had to go to the vet, get all kinds of tests done, cause the rest of the Cascadian Nomads to cancel their trip to the Oregon Country Fair and now I am just fine? Well, it's because I am very mysterious. Mystique is a trait that all birds hold dear and I am no exception. Yet while striving to uphold the perplexities that my avian heritage requires, why did I allow Bethany and Jason get so worried about me? Well, I sometimes give away little clues about my health. Little ones. Sometimes.
Don't drop that
Very often in psittacines, odd droppings are the only indication of a health problem. In fact, all animal's hold a lot of answers about their health in their stool. Bethany and Jason were worried about me because my poop was a little bit watery. Sometimes this happens because I am stressed or
And on this perch, weighing in at 500 grams, Covert Cockatoo
I don't weigh much for a big birdie so any change at in my weight can be a sign that something is wrong. When I was a hatchling, being weened in Spokane, Bethany shopped for everything she'd need to have a cockatoo live with her and she bought an avian scale so she could keep a close eye on my weight. My vet says to be sure to do my weigh-ins at the same time every day (or week) and that a few grams here and there isn't much to worry about. But if I have any rapid change in my weight, one way or another, something might be wrong. Might. I could also be very ill and have no weight change at all or just randomly put myself on a diet. Maybe this is what I was doing two weeks ago because my weight was just fine yet Bethany and Jason were worried about how little I was eating. I love being baffling.
Also due to my slight frame, any change in my appetite can be worrisome to whomever is paying attention. Two weeks ago, Bethany and Jason noticed I wasn't eating much. They gave me all kinds of my usual yummy foods and even some special ones which was super fun for me (though I declined most of it.) Changes in eating habits don't always mean I am ill. I also have appetite fluctuation with the seasons and when traveling. Fortunately, I am not a very picky eater like some cockatoos tend to be so I eat relatively regularly. As long as the scale says I am doing well, I can do some fasting and then some binging, keeping a dietary air of mystery.
Healthy birds, wild or captive, preen and play. Birds that aren't feeling their best fear letting their guard down and becoming an easy target for predators so they don't take the time to get clean or relax. I am pretty sure that no predators can get me while I am inside my cage or carrier but it's better to be safe than sorry. So if I am not feeling my best, I don't take my usual time to thoroughly clean each of my lovely feathers and I can't keep up with my daily wood chip or paper shred making quota. When my doggies or my kitties feel this way it is called lethargy. But we birds are slightly more mysterious about this because even healthy birds spend a lot of the day just roosting. I could be not sick, tired, hormonal or just moody and prefer the comfortable safety of my cage instead of hanging out with my flock. This is the attitude I had two weeks ago. I wasn't sure how to articulate "I'm being mysterious" to Bethany and Jason, so I acted fearful of them. I guess they hated that cryptic behavior because it caused drastic measures... a trip to the vet.
Often the only way to tell anything about the health of a bird is through blood, throat and poop tests and cultures. It is best to have these tests done yearly since we birds work so hard to hide our internal goings on from our flocks. Testing is also usually necessary when a bird is showing any other signs of illness. Two weeks ago, all of my test results were normal with the exception of a slightly off white blood cell count. Maybe those cells were working to fight off some germs. Maybe I just didn't want to eat, preen or be sociable. It's all part of the mystery of being Leo Peepers.
Bethany and the vet decided to wait and see if I improved on my own instead of giving me antibiotics I may not need. Right after my vet visit, I stopped acting fearful of Bethany and Jason. That vet and her assistants are way, way scarier and anyone in my flock or neighborhood. About five days after my vet visit, I started to eat a little bit more food closer to my regular schedule. And this week, I have gotten back to preening, playing and even singing some of my favorite songs. Bethany says my droppings still look odd but, hey, I've got to keep her guessing, right? That is the most fun job of a Cascadian cockatoo of mystery.