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Old 12-09-2020, 09:59 PM
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Unexpected loss of newest flock member

Hi everyone,

I’m a new member here. I’ve joined to learn as much as I can about giving my birds the best life possible, and to find some solace in the midst of the unexpected passing of my youngest bird. This will most likely be long, so I apologize in advance. I had purchased a beautiful male cockatiel about three months ago. He looked like a little ghost, was very shy, and we called him Boo. The word that would best describe him was “gentle.” Everything about him was soft- his feathers, his personality, his voice, his hisses, and even his little warning nibbles. He was extremely afraid of hands, but we had just gotten to a point where he was comfortable enough to be near my face; taking cues from my other birds, he would sometimes come up to preen my hair and eyelashes, and I was so excited about this development. My budgie Scout was his best friend. Scout followed him everywhere, and Boo would often bow his head to allow Scout to preen him. Scout would even regurgitate food for Boo. I loved to watch them together, and I was thrilled that my little budgie had a friend to focus his affections toward- my two other birds are more independent.

The day that Boo passed was an ordinary day- the flock woke up early that morning, my boyfriend and I let them out to play, and we went about our day as usual. Around midnight, we both heard a bird fall to the bottom of the cage. We immediately went to check on them, and Boo was on the ground with his wings spread, panting rapidly. I tried to comfort him, but because of his fear of hands, he tried to get away from me. It was clear something was terribly wrong because he stumbled and fell lopsided, with one foot through the bars. My sweet Scout immediately came down to the bottom of the cage to comfort him, preening him and regurgitating food. I’ll never forget that. Boo did not eat, and I knew that this was serious. I was able to lift him out of the cage, and I took him to another room to try to comfort him while my boyfriend searched online about what to do. I stroked his head while he continued to pant, but I had no idea what could be causing this reaction. I thought he had had a panic or had injured himself. I tried to transfer him to a shoe box with soft material inside for him to lay on, but right as I went to place him there, he laid his head down and stopped breathing. I was devastated. How did this sweet bird, who just hours earlier had been completely fine, pass away so suddenly?

We had a necropsy done- Boo had passed from pulmonary failure. The doctor discovered many different things: a small kidney lesion (which he explained was too minor to be the cause of death) and lung lesions, congestion and edema in the lung. In addition to this, he said the bird had a low body weight, muscle atrophy, and hardly any fat stores. This was all extremely shocking because we saw Boo eat regularly, and we had owned birds for several years and were very careful about our cookware, cleaning supplies, etc. However, the doctor said that the results strongly point to Teflon toxicosis. After discovering this, I immediately double checked the cookware used in the household. It turns out that a pan my roommate had used that day said “nonstick coating” on the label. They saw that it was made of steel, didn’t see any Teflon/PTFE/PFOA warnings, and thought it was safe. I knew this person would never intentionally harm the birds and is usually very vigilant about checking for dangers. I trusted them. I am absolutely heartbroken. Needless to say, we threw out those pans, but I can’t help but feel mortified that this happened to our baby. I’m still baffled by some of the other results of the necropsy, but this seems to be the strongest clue as to what could have caused this. I am devastated that he died needlessly. I feel like I failed him. I was supposed to protect him. His final moments replay in my mind, I mourn for him and for his friendship with my sweet Scout, and I am overwhelmed with anxiety about all potential dangers to my other birds now. One of my other budgies also went to the hospital later that night, after vomiting and showing heightened respiratory rate, and I wonder now if she, too, was affected by the fumes.. She has since come home, taking an antibiotic, and she seems to be doing fine. It’s been a rough time. I am finding some relief in being able to read the informative threads here, and thank you all for your time and passion for birds. I apologize again for how long this is, but I am devastated and just needed to get my thoughts out to people who I know will understand. Thank you <3

Last edited by petit.perroquet; 12-09-2020 at 10:05 PM.
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Old 12-10-2020, 01:43 AM
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Re: Unexpected loss of newest flock member

I welcome you to the forums under the most heartbreaking of circumstances. My deepest condolences for your loss of Boo. Though he was with you a tragically short time, his loving presence leaves indelible memories.

Thank you for a heartfelt tribute to Boo and shared lessons of his passing. Teflon toxicosis is generally and mistakenly believed to be an all or nothing affliction. It is possible your budgie received a serious but non-fatal dose. I dearly hope others will read and redouble their efforts to remove all harmful objects.

Sadly, many of us know avian loss. Your beautiful prose was no doubt cathartic and will touch a lot of hearts. I hope in time you will think of Boo with far more joy than despair. Grieving is a process and we are here for you.
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Old 12-10-2020, 06:45 AM
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Re: Unexpected loss of newest flock member

I feel so sorry for you and for Boo. You have our complete sympathy. It really get me angry that this aspect of non-stick coatings is ignored by the industry, when there is so much direct evidence that the use of them has killed so many companion birds. and I bet a lot of deaths are never even brought to light.

An accident is just that, and even though it might have been prevented, it was not an intentional death. FLy free, Boo!
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Old 12-10-2020, 09:15 AM
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Re: Unexpected loss of newest flock member

Hi! I am so sorry for your loss! If it’s non stick, it’s a risk! Teflon Free is only an advertising ploy!
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Old 12-10-2020, 09:36 AM
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Re: Unexpected loss of newest flock member

Thank you all so much for your warm welcome and kind words. They bring my heart some relief this morning. I think of Boo everyday and feel even more gratitude for each day I get to spend with my other three birds.

I am also deeply upset about how difficult it can be sometimes to determine if a product has PTFE and/or PFOA. Since this experience, I have been doing so much research, and I am shocked at how many products you can find these toxins in. I hope my story can help spread more awareness and keep more birds safe. I wish there were more of an effort to keep these harmful chemicals out of our homes.
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Old 12-10-2020, 09:48 AM
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Re: Unexpected loss of newest flock member

I am so sorry for your loss.
I know what it's like to loose a companion that depended on you.


Unexpected loss of newest flock member-rainbow-bridge_-.jpg
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