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Lior, my little light

suileeka

Rollerblading along the road
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Thank you, Marie!

I love Lior so much it hurts.

My first glimpse of the bird that would become more important to me than I could ever imagine was this photo and description:
Fiery_Shoulder_Conure_43856_019.JPG
"Unsexed, fiery shoulder. He or she has been attacked by another conure and is now missing one eye. Still very healthy and breedable. Was hand fed but no longer tame. 1 yr old."

It would be several months more before I got to see him in person.

I had a few tentative names in mind when I went to pick him up at the airport the night he came home, but I hadn't decided on one until I walked into the door at the cargo office and knew, just knew, that he was 'my light'. I hadn't met him yet, but that this precious little creature had made it across the continent to me, that we were strangers, that I had no idea what to expect, that circumstances had come together perfectly to make it all happen... it felt unreal, but as though nothing could be more right. During the taxi ride home from the airport, he was slipping and sliding around in his plywood carrier whenever we turned a corner, and I thought, 'Please don't let this little guy have made it all the way here only to get bruised and battered while he's supposed to be safe in my lap on the drive home!' (Poor guy did have a bruised beak, which has since healed.) Bringing home a solitary bird was a new experience for me - all my others came in pairs or threesomes - and I felt his loneliness palpably, stretching out into the dark of the evening, hoping for a connection, a partner, a flockmate.

He spent the night in his travel box, which I placed inside his new cage. I caught a glimpse of a dark, shining eye and of the beautiful flash of his orange shoulders. Holy COW, this bird was ten times more gorgeous than I'd been expecting, and I went to bed with a sense of awe.

The next morning, I went in the room, not sure what I would find. Would he be out and exploring? Would he be okay?

He was still in the travel box, but when he heard movement, he made a little croaking noise and soon enough he was scrabbling out of the box like a tiny dinosaur, all claws and bright flicking feathers and an avid expression that took in absolutely everything. It felt as though I was being evaluated right down to my soul. It was pretty much a mutual enchantment from that point forward, and all the visions I'd had of coaxing this 'untame' bird with treats, of sitting next to his cage for hours speaking softly to accustom him to my presence, and of bites and frights were thrown out the window. Lior said, 'The heck with this! Love me!', and we have since built a relationship at his pace, which far exceeded what mine would have been.


On his third day home, letting me know what he thinks of my 'slow and patient' plan.

Well, this was supposed to be about Lior and his disability, not a paean to my love for him! But I don't look at him and see it, other than as just another feature of his physical topography. Part of the package, but not essential to the vibrant little soul inside him.

I do have to catch myself sometimes and remind myself that I'm doing something he can't see. We are usually in sync, and he's never startled when I approach from his blind side or give him a kiss that he can't see. In fact, he loves to get kisses on the scar tissue where his right eye used to be.

When I'm trying to direct his attention to something like his bathing bowl and his blind side is towards me, I tap my fingernails on the bowl to let him know that I'm trying to show him something. The fingernail tap and verbal 'Over here, Li!' is my most frequent cueing method when I need to get him to turn around to look at something. I have found that he has trouble visualizing routes, not just when flying, but when walking or climbing, so sometimes I get his attention and then use my hand to show him the point to point steps to getting where he wants to go.

He is very responsive, but his trust in me and the fact that he has no problem with having his blind side towards me means that I can't give him the Look when he's being naughty.

When a visitor comes in the room, he keeps his one eye fixed unwaveringly on them, even while he does his 'I am a big bad conure, don't mess with me!' strut.

Lior's primary difficulty is not being able to navigate while flying, but he is slowly learning. He flew to my shoulder the other night, the first time he's managed to make it to his intended destination in the air! I was only about four feet away, but it's a big accomplishment for him to fly in a straight line. He won't even hop from perch to perch in his cage. He is improving, though. He used to crash land by panicking while in the air, but now he hovers in the middle of the room until he can spot something to his left that he can land on. The other day he landed on the Atom, which was another big first! I cheered and told him how proud I was of him, and he had the most bemused, awestruck, proud look on his face that he was all the way up there. It's an expression I hope to see again.

From the beginning, Lior has shown me so much willingness to trust, so much open heartedness, and so much resiliency that I can't believe how lucky I am that he is in my life.

 

kitsunebandit

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that was so sweet!
 

Anne & Gang

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that made me cry..I am so happy you have Lior...he is blessed.
 

kcbee

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:heart:
 

Birdiemarie

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Lindsay, thank you for writing Lior's story! He truly is an inspiration! :hug8:
 

MommyBird

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wow, a real kleenex alert. loved reading this story.
I'm so happy you two have each other and can communicate so well.
:heart::heart:
 

Welshanne

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What a wonderful read and surely you two were meant for each other. Do so hope your relationship will go from strength to strength and your love for each other will win the day. :hug8:
 

Sparky04

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Wonderful story! Lior's a cutie. :heart: It's great that you two have each other.
 

~birdybea~

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I've always loved seeing pics of Lior...but i'd never realised he's only got one eye!! :heart: You've done a wonderful job sharing his story, and how fantastic that he's learning to navigate in flight with impaired vision.
 

April

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Lior is so amazing,I'm so happy you two found each other :heart:
 

Daisy's Mom

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Thank you for sharing your beautiful story with us.. :heart: I'm soo happy that you found each other.. :hug8: I can't wait to hear how he continues to flourish under your care.. :)
 

suileeka

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Thank you, all. He is truly the most wonderful companion I could have hoped for. :heart:
 

Jazzysmama

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Just to let you know... My dad passed away this past Dec. I've had a teary evening missing him. After reading your beautiful story, you managed to make me smile!:) Thankyou for sharing with us.
 
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