June 3, 2007 [LINK / comment]

Canary health laments

Along with the many sweet satisfactions of middle age come any number of aggravating aches, pains, and other health annoyances -- you know, the kind that advertisers on the evening news seem to target. The same thing also applies to our distant avian relatives on the evolutionary tree of life. George and especially Princess have been prone to various minor ailments over their seven-plus year lifetimes, from routine molting to occasional bumps and bruises.

George (left) and Princess (right), on May 19.

This week, somehow, Princess hurt her left foot, the "good" one that she relies upon for perching and hopping about. When I noticed blood in her nest, we were terribly worried and thought about taking her in to see the vet. Since we have had bad luck with pet care, however, we decided to take care of her ourselves. (Princess does not like to be handled, but even after I hold her when we need to examine or treat her, she still trusts me enough to let me pick up the wooden stick in the cage while she is perching on it.) We used hydrogen peroxide as a disinfectant and a special antibiotic styptic powder, and so far Princess seems to be improving. She may end up losing a claw temporarily, but we're pretty sure she will be fully mobile before long.

George has been doing just fine in recent months, singing loudly almost every day, in keeping with all the bird mating activity that is evident outside their window.