Dicky bird

Dear little dicky-bird

You’re so sweet

I love the feel of those little feet

On my finger.

Your tiny, soft feathers

Exquisitely fine

I’m ever so proud

You’re a friend of mine.


Grasping at straws today, I found this little bird in my photos and his sweet face gave me something to smile about.

Growing up, my parents always had budgies. They are called parakeets in the States.

Really, I don’t approve of caged birds. Birds are meant to fly free and caging them is an awful thing to do. Of course, budgies are bred in cages, so what do they know? But it’s in their DNA to fly.

My parents must have felt the same, to an extent, because when we lived in London, in a great barn of a place, my dad built a gigantic cage for the current bird, that assisted by sitting on my father’s hand as he wielded his hammer.

The cage door was constructed of soft wood that the bird promptly modified in order to let itself out, but the only time the bird was confined, as I recall, was at night, for its protection, I think.

One time, one of the birds was sitting on my mother’s shoulder as she went out into our “garden”, a postage stamp-sized space outside the kitchen. We gasped, but it held on tight. That bird knew where its seed could be found and it was marginally warmer indoors.

Among my memories of our flat in Earl’s Court, is an image of my father sitting in the living room with his hat and coat on, in front of the feeble heat of a tiny gas fire.

My fondest memories, though, are of the two birds we had, “Happy” first, a bonnie green chap, followed by “Pippy”, who was blue.Then, my father took a job overseas. He left, in December 1955, leaving my mother to cope with everything including, most importantly, what to do about Pippy.

In the end, Pippy wasn’t a problem. One afternoon when my brother was out, Pippy flew across the living room and fell dead at our feet. My mother, seeking an answer as to what could have happened, got out the budgie book, finding no adequate answer.

When Peter, my brother, got home he saw the book lying on the sofa and said, sadly “I suppose we don’t have to worry about Pippy anymore.” Peter, 3 years older, was dispatched to boarding school.

My hamster, Tim, was sent upstairs to live with Timothy Kuhles and I went with my mother to join my father in Cambodia in June 1956. There were no budgies there, but there were many others, later on, and they often got named Peter.

We never lived together as a family after this. Years later, the job with BOAC made it possible for me to visit, a few times a year and I always looked forward to spending time with the current budgie.

Some of my other friends

2 thoughts on “Dicky bird

  1. Dicky bird…otherwise known as “Little Brown Job”…an anonymous little bird, usually a sparrow of some sort, at least in my book. I am no ornithologist! They are lovely, just like the others.

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