The African Grey Parrot moved into our home on February 14th 2014 and left on May 11th 2018. The apartment seems silent and empty ever since, we are very sad and we miss our little Valentine every day.
The bird lady had previously lived with an elderly couple in the second district in Vienna for almost four decades where she could no longer remain due to death in the family. Usha Patel and her husband got to know her during a home visit and finally agreed to adopt her. From the first day on Valentine integrated well into the new environment and she built up a close relation particularly to Dr. Woergetter. As it is quite typical for parrots she impressed with her special characteristics and rough edges, Valentine was no exception with that.
Parrots are strictly monogamous and should therefore never live alone, however, we skipped our original plan to offer a partner bird to Valentine due to her advanced age and unfavourable health condition. Unfortunately she showed seizures in the legs from time to time and after she had fallen off her perch several times we rearranged her cage by implementing boards instead of bars. We took her to specialists but the exact diagnose still remained unclear. For sure she suffered from an arthrosis in the right knee and most probably also from an insidious and constantly worsening aspergillosis.
We tried our best to offer Valentine a comfortable situation for her old age containing free flights almost every day. The parrot spent her summers in the garden with us and gradually became a real cat lover (on the picture you can see her together with our tom cat Finn). Parrots are very sociable and even if her little flock did not contain other birds she now had three more animal friends and people who offered to relate with her. And indeed she quickly formed a strong bond and built up trust with us. She could be quite decisive and our daily routine as well as our menus were co-determined by Valentine ever since. Her jealousy was quite legendary. She used to attack Mrs. Patel´s toes and to defend parts of the apartment as if it was her personal territory. She loved to hide in the closet or the bathroom. Oftentimes she hid so well that only a timid “huuuh…”, which finally was finally heard disclosed her location.
On the other hand Valentine was utterly tender and regularly flew on Dr. Woergetter´s shoulder and offered him “kisses”. Sometimes she even crawled under his blanket making her noises of comfort. When it came to nibbling she would be friendly also to Mrs. Patel and it was a strategic ritual that she would taste from the wholemeal bread or the scrambled eggs during breakfast. Her all-time favorite were “Mannerschnitten”, a Viennese confectionary – she would offer a lot to catch one of those…
Valentine loved noise like vacuum cleaning and loud voices from radio and TV or the noisy discussions when we had guests and played cards. Definitively she had rhythm in her blood because she immediately began to whistle and to dance when one would sing to her. A daily ritual was the covering of her cage. When we said: “Good night Valentine” and “Sleep tight”, she would answer: “yes, yes…”.
Our little Valentine has closed her eyes … forever. Sleep tight little Valentine!