It’s bittersweet that I should be writing this post about Kenickie. I’ve had my blog for almost three years now and this is the first time I’ve chosen to write about him. Exclusively I mean – the little rascal was forever popping up in my blogs, along with his bros Thor (galah) and Finn (hound)… But I never dedicated a blog just to him. I’d always planned to… I plan lots of blogs. Fellow content curators among us will vouch for the amount of random notes, scribbles and albums we have stashed away in our phones – created randomly as/when when inspiration hits unexpectedly.
Only now that I no longer have Kenickie in my life do I write about how much the little featherball meant to my life.
For those of you who don’t know, Kenickie was the second bird I ever owned. He was bought back in 2015 on recommendation from my avian vet as a little buddy for my original rescue-galah Zuko, who was super-sick as a result of some very poor wing clipping when he was younger. Grease fans among you will already be smiling – and for those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, well you don’t deserve to. Stop reading immediately and go watch Grease for God’s sake. It’s a classic.
Long story short: Kenickie loved Zuko, Zuko hated Kenickie and they ended up living separately. So much for the T-Birds. When Zuko sadly soared off to birdie heaven a few months later, I got a little galah chick who I named Thor. Thor loved Kenickie, Kenickie hated Thor. Apart from the very rare occasion I’d catch them snuggling together on their perch. But at least they could hang together in the same house (repeat: not a cage) and so the ‘Thor and Kenickie’ flock was forged. They really did have a love/hate bromance.
Because Zuko struggled so much with his wings, I refused to clip Thor or Kenickie’s wings. And so we all lived happily ever after for about two years, with birds zooming around the house and even learning airborne tricks. I loved watching them fly. I could call Thor from any room in the house and he would come to me – Kenickie not so much, but that’s because he always was such an independent little soul. But oh, could he whistle a tune! You could be having the crappiest day ever and the little pikachu would come up to you and wolf-whistle right in your face. He was total a male-chauvinist and I loved it. When I rescued a little rainbow lorikeet, Lola a few years ago, she developed a huge crush on Kenickie and followed him around everywhere – it was adorable. Sadly I couldn’t keep her as she freaked the hell out of Thor and she was messy AF. But it was a cute (albeit messy) experience.
But then last year, Thor flew away. I was absolutely distraught. Having had him from a little chick, we had an incredible bond and I just knew he wouldn’t survive out there. Kenickie was so clingy the whole time Thor was gone, he clearly missed his pink and grey buddy. Fortunately Thor-gate lasted only 24hrs until we were miraculously reunited and that very same night, both of my birdies had their wings clipped. I was so lucky to get Thor back and while I didn’t want to take away their freedom, it only meant we needed to make a few minor adjustments so the birdies still had their independence around the house, little things like ensuring they could access their cage easily from the floor, etc.
I always said it was lucky it Thor who flew away and not Kenickie. And I always said if Kenickie was stuck in a tree, the only way I’d get him back would be to go up there and get him down myself. I just knew.
Kenickie-nick-nack was a gorgeous bird (whom I had a zillion nick names for!) and I loved him dearly. But he wasn’t an affectionate creature – which I find hard to comprehend as nearly all the 7,314 animals I’ve had over the years have been loving. If I’m being totally honest, Kenickie could be quite a little arsehole at times. He’d hiss and (softly) peck – rarely conversing if he could help it… probably a result of me not getting him while he was young enough, but also because Zuko totally froze him out each time he attempted to flock when he was little. Some people have daddy issues, Kenickie had Zuko issues. But then on the flip side he could sing the most gorgeous tunes (not so gorgeous at 5am sunrise in the summer but all the same…), and had quite the reportoire – although we never did get him to add the ‘ie’ onto the end of “hello mister bird”. He would spend hours chirruping and admiring himself in anything reflective (mirrors, floor tiles, windows… even the shiny apple branding on the back of your phone. If there was a reflective surface, Kenickie would find it) – but most fascinating of all was his relationship with Finn. Kenickie may have disliked Thor, but he adored the chihuahua. As long as he didn’t get too close. He really was the most independent, grumpy, musical little soul.
The Saturday before WA Day, Kenickie flew away. His wings were due for clipping, but we’re talking just one or maybe two feathers. But that’s all it takes. At the weekends I have a regime – particularly over winter when there is little light in the evenings when I get back from work. As soon as I get back from working out, I put the birds out on their perch on the sheltered deck in my back garden for them to soak up some fresh air and Vit D while I do whatever I’m doing around house. The birds often flap around – they tend to fly down off their perch after they’ve had enough and while Thor will usually come and find me or head back to his house, Kenickie will make a bee-line to the reflective french door windows to check himself out. That’s how it’s always been for 18 months since I bought my house. It’s our routine. Only this time when I went to check on them, Kenickie had gone. Through whistling and calling him (oh God, I really must have looked a crazy bird lady that day), I found him perched in one of the 50ft tall trees in the park opposite my house. We tried everything to get him down. My amazing neighbours and step-dad came to help, and as the hours went by Kenickie just flew higher and higher up to the top of the trees. In the end, as twilight set in, I had to make the heartbreaking decision to let him go. I knew as soon as I left him behind it was unlikely I’d ever see him again – and even weeks later as I type this my eyes are welling up. There was nothing I could do. I refused to let my step-dad climb the tree (God I love that man) – him breaking his neck wasn’t going to help anyone. I just had to let go.
People who don’t have pets won’t get it. People who have had dogs all their life probably won’t get it either – he was just a bird, right? But he was my grumpy little bird and I loved him so much every day. I had to just focus on Thor who was the quietest I’ve ever known him to be the first few days sans-Kenickie. He really missed his little pikachu buddy… But that’s the focus for another blog next month. For now it’s been enough to reminisce with a handful of my favourite, random candid snaps of Kenickie which are below. He really was quite the little poser. He’d kill me for showing you the snuggly ones with Thor, so shh! If you do see him, don’t tell him…
There’s still the chance I could get Kenickie back. I’ve read so many success stories online of owners being reunited with their birds weeks, months or even years later – hell, I even have my own success story with Thor. I’m so thankful that was just for one day. The Facebook pages and groups set up to help find lost animals in Perth are amazing and it really is heart-warming to see how people collectively come together to support and comfort one another. So much love to Lost and Found Birds Perth WA Facebook page and Lost and Found Pets in Perth Facebook page.
So here’s to you, my lovely, musical and oh-so grumpy Kenickie-bird. I hope you’re flying wild out there in the WA skies with a whole gang of Galahs and flirting with all the Rainbow Lorikeets. Something tells me you are.
Flock on, little one… You’ll always be my little weiro-weirdo.
I love you Kenickie-bird.