by Mary Caton

Growing up I knew that my dad was different from other dads, but he had more determination and perseverance than almost anyone I knew. Due to scoliosis he became paraplegic in his late 30’s. There was little doctors could do for him, but he was determined to prove them wrong. During my childhood years, I remember the braces, the therapies, the doctor appointments as he struggled to walk again. After a while, he began to accept that he would never walk. Determined that he would not be a burden to anyone, he and my mother created various accommodations around the house so that he could do most everything himself. His skills included repairing things and small building projects. He read a lot and wrote stories. He continued to work as a newspaper reporter and went to work everyday until he was 60 years old. He was a hero!

I am drawn to several birds who are the kind of hero my dad was. With the help of their care givers or, to most of us mommies and daddies, they overcome various handicaps to live good, happy lives. Here are two of them.

My first hero is a dwarf cockatiel named Tiny.

Tiny the Dwarf Cockatiel

Tiny is 4 years old and will turn 5 on September 1. He has lived in Australia with his mom, Lisa Jane, since he was 5 months old. Tiny does not grow tail feathers or primary flight feathers. According to his mom, he is the smallest cockatiel in the world weighing only 62 grams. Even though he cannot fly, he gets around on his feet very well. His cage doors are left open, so he can come and go as he pleases. There are ladders connecting his cage to other cages in the aviary and the jungle gym. His cage is a ferret design with ramps and ladders, so he can get around easily. Tiny sleeps in a smaller cage at night in the bedroom with his mom. This is so he doesn’t fall off his perch and injure himself. Also, Mom will know if something happens and if he needs her.

I'm a big bird

Tiny lives a normal life. He has a wife named Lucy and aspires to be a daddy. Lucy is also a dwarf cockatiel. Click here to view their wedding video. Tiny’s wedding to Lucy He and Lucy live with other cockatiels, 15 total, two budgies and two finches. Mom says they all get along very well together in the indoor aviary.

Tiny in the habitat

Molly is my second hero. She is a cockatiel who also lives in the aviary with Tiny.

Contented Molly

Molly is 6 years old but has lived with them only a few weeks. Molly is a rescue. She was cage bound for most of her 6 years. Her cage had only one dowel for her perch. The food and water bowls were moldy. Lisa wanted to get her out of that situation as quickly as possible, so she took her home. At the vet Lisa learned the extent of Molly’s injuries. She wasn’t born that way. She probably fell or somehow experienced a crash landing. There was a sore on one foot. She was below normal weight and her keel bone was very sharp. Now with more freedom, she is trying to learn how to fly, but Lisa does not encourage flying. Molly could fall or crash and further injure her muscles or her keel bone. Her feet kind of “knit” together so she has trouble getting around. With some therapies, she has improved. There is hope that she will recover with proper care and a good diet. Since the rescue, she has gained 8 grams. Molly sleeps in mom’s bedroom too. Mom carries her around, so she can have the company. Her future is bright.

Tiny and Molly are heroes. They are strong and well cared for despite their special needs. In their pictures, they look happy and content. Tiny believes he is just as tall and big as the other cockatiels. Lisa reports that Molly can often be heard beak grinding. Molly perseveres to fly and pushes herself to walk. They have adapted to their environment and determine to make the best of their situation.

This information is provided by Lisa Jane Scannell in Australia. Find more about Tiny and Molly on Facebook by clicking on this link Tiny the Dwarf Cockatiel.

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