October 1, 2009 [LINK / comment]

Three's Company? Hello, Lucy!

About the same time that Princess had emergency surgery nearly one month ago, we decided it was time to get a new female companion for Luciano. We shopped around at several pet stores in the area and finally found a suitably attractive female canary at a place in Charlottesville. Because of her resemblance to Luciano, with a somewhat paler shade of yellow, we decided to name the newest avian arrival in the Clem household "Lucy."

Jacqueline and I were rather nervous about how this potentially unstable "love triangle" might turn out, so we kept Lucy in the cage for the first few days. That way, all the birds could get familiar with each other before any misunderstandings took place and led to squabbles. Luciano was very curious about the new bird, and vice versa. When we finally let Lucy out she started flying without too much difficulty, to our surprise, but learning to land was a bit of a problem. Even after a few weeks, she is still a little awkward in the air. She has an amazing appetite, and loves to eat apple slices. It took her a while to develop a taste for some of the "gourmet" greens we serve: broccoli, basil flowers, and cabbage flowers. Princess and Luciano just love those treats, so Lucy gradually followed suit. Occasionally she and Luciano get into brief arguments, flying around each other like a spiral. For the most part, however, they get along fine, and she seems to enjoy staying close to him, which is a good sign. Lucy also likes to visit Princess and eat at her food dish sometimes. I think Princess enjoys the extra company, and there doesn't seem to be any jealousy or resentment. In sum, the first month of this little avian "situation comedy" has gone very well. smile


Our newest canary, Lucy, eating an apple slice. (Sept. 2009)

Also see Luciano (Jan. 2008)

and Princess (Apr. 2001)

Soon after we brought Lucy home, we noticed that she frequently coughs or wheezes. We were hoping that exposure to fresh air and sunlight (she just loves to sit in the sun for extended periods) would clear up her respiratory condition, but it pretty much stayed the same. So, yesterday I took her to the vet, who gave her some medication that is supposed to kill the tiny mites that often afflict birds. Diagnosis is difficult with such a small, delicate patient. Lucy seemed a little better today, but it will be a few more days before we know whether the treatment has been effective.

Thankfully, Princess has made a full recovery and she is glad not to have to take the antibiotic medicine twice a day any more. The left leg is healing where the infected foot was amputated, and she is more or less accustomed to getting around as best she can. She is calling once again, a sign that her former vigor is returning. Jacqueline is very happy and relieved that Princess is going to be OK.

For his part, Luciano has resumed singing on a regular basis once again. He had gotten out of practice during the summer molting months, and it took him a couple weeks of practice before he could vocalize strong, clear notes like he used to. It remains to be seen how he and Lucy will get along when mating season comes around...