Animal Stunts - Pets,  Blast From the Past,  Inventions, Creations, Experiments

The Mysterious Disappearance of Feathers

It’s been a gloomy evening chez Glamore. Porter was reading with Feathers perched on his shoulder, and somewhere along the way Feathers disappeared.

None of us was aware of the problem for several hours, as Porter was confident that Feathers had gone exploring and would soon return. I was in the kitchen fixing dinner when Porter came in, wearing only underwear and ski gloves, carrying a box which emitted scritches and tweets.

“Have you seen Feathers?” Porter asked.

“Isn’t she in the box?”

“No, this is Texas Ranger. I’m using him as bait to find Feathers.” He put the box on the ground and opened it, plucked Texas Ranger out and crooned, “Go find Feathers” in a high voice.

Texas Ranger wasn’t having any of it. He squawked and wriggled himself into the corner by the dishwasher and refused to move. It took Porter several minutes and a spatula to return him to the box and then his cage, per my command. I’m proud to report that I remembered to put the spatula into the dishwasher and avoided cooking with it.

We spent the rest of the evening looking for Feathers. Our search was hampered by Porter’s inability to remember precisely where he’d last seen her and the ongoing chaos of his room, which could hide a small bird for weeks.

Do you see a bird in here? We didn’t either.

On the positive side, his habit of creating parakeet playgrounds featuring pools of birdseed made it unlikely that Feathers would starve if she was wandering through the clutter.

Overview of playground, featuring Styrofoam all-you-can-eat birdseed buffet, slide, wine cork obstacle course, gold ring perch


Feathers playing on playground in happier days. She was particularly fond of sitting on my mom’s old bracelet which balanced on the tambourine.

It had been raining for most of the day so Elvis had spent a great deal of time indoors. This made me uneasy. When the birds first arrived, Elvis had snuffled around the birdcage quite a bit. One time he had wandered in Porter’s room while both birds were on the playground. Elvis sniffed them more in the manner of someone wondering what was for dinner than like he was greeting fellow family members. Since then, we’d emphasized that dog and birds were best kept apart.

I had special reason to be concerned.

Growing up, we adopted a dog named Peaches. We guessed that a crazy person had named him. He was shaggy and black with a ribbon of white at his throat, and looked like no particular breed. He most resembled Grover on Sesame Street, with more hair and four legs. He was a fabulous dog. That’s hard to believe based on this picture of him circa 1975.
It really doesn’t matter that you can’t see his face, as we couldn’t see it when looking at him either.

I could write loads about Peaches and his adventures: the time he humped the dog across the street and got stuck to her, the time he ate the plastic covering the newspaper and it came out his rear, completely whole, and so forth.

Our next door neighbors growing up had kids our age, and when the oldest was in fifth grade his class hatched a chick to learn about the miracle of nature. He won the raffle to keep the chick and raise it at home.

My sisters and I were so jealous. The baby chick was the size of a couple of cotton balls and super-cute. My neighbor called us to come outside so he could show her off. He made it clear that we weren’t to hug her, because we’d squeeze her too tight and suffocate her.

Although the baby chick was tiny, she was fast, so he’d fashioned a weensy chick leash out of dental floss and tied it to her leg. They paraded down their driveway at a fast clip and over to us. Aunt Su and I were wearing our matching maroon and yellow Izod sweaters in honor of the occasion. We oohed and ahed for about three seconds before Peaches darted from the bushes and swallowed the chick whole. There was nothing left but a small strand of dental floss protruding from Peaches’s mouth, but he quickly lapped that up as well.

We were stunned by that example of nature in action. It was years before I got over the image of Peaches hoovering up the chick as if it were a marshmallow.

I had no desire to see the scene repeated at my own home, but as we checked every room in the house and heard nary a tweet and no rustling feathers, I began examining Elvis more closely. I didn’t think he’d been appropriately hungry for dinner. Was that because he’d had an extra-special hors’d’oeuvre?

Feathers was larger than the baby chick had been, and Elvis is half the size of Peaches, so I theorized that Elvis would need at least two bites to finish off the bird. Surely that would leave blood, or at least pin feathers. I found no evidence of either around the house.

After dinner I resorted to prying Elvis’s mouth open. I saw no evidence of a birdie meal, and his breath, while rank, wasn’t particularly redolent of parakeet.

By bedtime Porter was upset over Feather’s disappearance. He was also outraged to learn that if he bought another parakeet he’d have to pay not only the $16.99 the bird cost, but also 8% sales tax, which added another $1.36 to the transaction.

Thus, in our nightly prayer we asked God to keep Feathers safe if she was still here on earth, and for help in finding her. Porter reminded God that Feathers likes to sit on a person’s shoulder while he’s reading so He could make proper arrangements if Feathers was already in Heaven. Then, at Porter’s insistence, I asked God to consider our city’s sales tax and strike it down if he found it unfair, Amen.

(I had already told Porter that this was a government issue, not a religious one, but he came back at me with “Ask and it will be given unto you” and I couldn’t get into a theological discussion with a missing bird and possible carcass somewhere in the house.)

Bill and I checked all the toilets, the laundry room, the basement, and every closet once more after the boys went to bed. No Feathers.

Missing: Feathers

Main Suspect: Elvis Glamore

I didn’t eat no parakeet

We’ve lost pets before (remember when we lost the hermit crabs while they were racing?) but Feathers has been much loved.

Updates as they occur.


One year ago in My Tiny Kingdom: What To Buy? Don’t Axe Me

Also, I’d forgotten that the hermit crab post contains a diatribe helpful suggestions from someone who is really devoted to her hermit crabs, and even makes them homemade food!


  • Waidmann


    I feel your pain. We lost our guinea pig recently, and know how attached to a pet we can get. However….

    that was hilarious. I can just picture Peaches scarfing down a little chick. I haven’t laughed that hard in months. “We were stunned by that example of nature in action.” Yeah. I can imagine. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall the next day in school as your neighbor explained why he came to school with no chick and what happened to it. Bet they never let him touch the class pet again.

    Anyhow, good luck finding Feathers.


  • Crisanne

    Oh no! I was hoping for a happy ending of a found bird by the end of the post.

    Alas, assure Porter we will continue his prayers throughout the day. Including wisdom for sales tax… 🙂

    Crisanne’s last blog post..The verdicts

  • Lizzi

    LOL! I was just going to ask if you’d checked the toilet! Hope you find him soon – just the thought of a possibly dead or dying animal laying somewhere in the house would be enough to make me pack up and move.

    Lizzi’s last blog post..Breaking Ground

  • Jamie

    I hope you find poor Feathers intact! And I know this isn’t intended to be hilariously funny, but that picture of Elvis makes me laugh.

    p.s. Peaches looks like an amazing dog…too bad he ate a small sweet Easter like creature. Sniff. We had a yellow lab mix when I was little that ate a baby rabbit. I was scarred for life!

  • Toni-EvinNRobsMom

    Okay Anne, I was really rooting for you guys this time around. I’ve read your previous posts and I know your family’s track record with pets. 😉 I feel so bad for Porter-the hermit crabs, Naked Baby, and now Feathers. I hope Feathers is found safe and sound.

    P.S. As bad as I feel for Porter, this post was freakin’ hilarious! 🙂

  • childsplay

    Oh. My. Gosh.

    I’m so torn…to laugh or to cry? So funny and so sad all at once.

    We’ve had 2 firebelly toads go MIA, and thought we’d lost a hamster (but turns out he was watching TV) but I would think a playful parakeet would be very emotional to ‘loose’. Hoping for the best.

    I think your son has a future in aviary exhibits in zoo’s around the country…that’s quite a parakeet playground!

    childsplay’s last blog post..Air Pressure and the Jar of Death

  • Shayna

    I give you kudos for tolerating loose birds in the house! I had parakeets growing up and they were never (NEVER!) allowed out of the cage, except when the cage needed a cleaning. I think I would have been in heaven given the opportunity to build a bird paradise (no pun intended in light of Feathers’ MIA status).

  • Gina Cobb

    Sorry about Feathers. I wish I could come and help find her. It sounds like she has lived a very nice life so far.

    When I was a kid, a neighbor cat grabbed my pet mouse from a box in the front yard while I was cleaning the mouse cage. There is nothing scarier than hearing your pet mouse squeaking in a cat’s mouth. Fortunately I was on good terms with the cat, and after the cat ran across the street near some bushes I was able to get him to let me retrieve the mouse from his mouth. My mouse was fine. Whew.

    Gina Cobb’s last blog post..I Nominate Bill Clinton

  • Amanda

    Aww, I keep coming back hoping to find an update that Feathers has been recovered and is healthy and well, but so far that doesn’t appear to be the case. Losing a pet is rough, especially when you’re young.

    Amanda’s last blog post..Whirlwind

  • Debbie

    I just found your blog from your avatar post on DPS. Hilarious post–and that photo of the parakeet playground is absolutely hysterical!

    That being said, I grew up with parakeets and sure hope Feathers is okay. I even took one of my parakeets to an emergency vet once when he flew into a sink of dirty dishwater. He got a shot (of what and where I can’t imagine) and he was put on a heating pad all night where I got up every two hours to check on him. RIP Pierre, who looks very similar to Feathers, I might add.

  • Windy

    I hope Feathers turns up entact!!

    It has been many, many years, but I still remember my dismay at finding a pile of feathers in the corner by the stove one morning. Some one of three little girls forgot to shut the door to the parakeet’s cage and the cat found out about it.