Little Big Apple Story, Part 6


All illustrations for this story were developed in vector software and painted in Essentials.

PART 6, The substance of things hoped for...

On the sidewalk beside the park, an incredible event took place. A group of sparrows were scavenging for edibles. From under a nearby bench walked an unbelievable sight, a blue parakeet. I stood fixated; it looked like Bobble.

I called his name repeatedly while holding my hand high so he could see his finger perch. Bobble looked my way. My actions triggered a response because his head began bobbing up and down. This always occurred before he flew to me. At that moment in my imagination, I could feel Bobble's claws curl around my finger; he would soon be home.

I failed to see behind me two cyclists fast approaching. They whizzed by shattering the moment and scattering the frightened birds. Amid the fluttering brown feathers was a rising streak of blue. The birds flew up over the trees and on to places unknown. This was the final time I would ever see Bobble.

If the bird seen that day was truly him and not my heart pretending, he had survived winter by mimicking sparrows. The street-smart birds had passed along the skills needed to find food and shelter. He survived and thrived in the Big Apple. And that is no walk in the park.

Research suggests parakeets can tolerate frigid temperatures for a time. Many places in the city vented warm air at both the street level and on tops of buildings. For a bird struggling to live, one of these spots would have been a lifesaving magnet.

The dire circumstance faced that first night in freezing weather did not defeat Bobble. Through perseverance, all obstacles to survival were overcome one by one. He beat the odds; he won. For me, this was about more than survival. It was a huge lesson in living life taught by a teacher smaller than my hand.

The Little Big Apple Story has summarized my brief relationship with Bobble, a true winner. But I wish to end the story with words about another winner, my grandma. As it turns out, there was method in her gifting madness; she was a lady of rare intuition. That statement deserves an explanation, however, time does not permit. You see, an overdue appointment awaits my presence; today is my first accordion lesson. Thanks, Grandma, for the handsome case.

A followup:

Pet birds living wild in cities is more common than most people are aware. An article in Forbes states, "Bird watchers and citizen scientists have spotted 56 different parrot species [includes parakeets] in 43 US states, with 25 of those species breeding in urban areas in 23 states."

Although most of these birds lived in the warmer regions of the United States (Florida, Texas, California), sizable numbers populated colder urban areas such as Boston, Chicago and New York City.

Below is a link to a YouTube video that recorded a parakeet similar to Bobble living among sparrows on the streets of New York City.

  • Well, good luck with the lessons.  you lifted me up and then my heart sank again.  I watched the video and, like your story, did not want it to end.  we have wild parrots here in Sarasota.  the majority of them live downtown across the street from the bay.  but occasionally we have some land in our bushes and trees at our house right here at the beach.  they are all green -- we have never seen any other color.    

  • Beautiful colors and textures.