San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Hacienda Heights bird lover sings the joys of cockatiels in new book
By Caroline An, Staff Writer
Posted: 01/09/2010 06:13:03 AM PST
Mary Terzian has written a short story that is featured in the newly released book "The Ultimate Bird Lover: Stories and Advice on Our Feathered Friends at Home and in the Wild". She is holding a photo of her cockatiel Poupee, the subject of her story, at her Hacienda Heights home Jan. 5, 2010. (SGVN/Staff photo by Leo Jarzomb)
HACIENDA HEIGHTS - Reflecting on the three weeks of bird-siting she did for her daughter's pet cockatiel more than 10 years ago, Mary Terzian said the experience veered from distressing to joyous.
"I didn't know anything about birds," Terzian said. "My daughter was going away on vacation and there was going to be no phone contact. I was a little anxious."
The male, cream-colored cockatiel named "Poupee" was upset the first day, screeching loudly whenever Terzian came into the room.
"Poupee was nervous. He was in a different environment. It wasn't a hostile one, but he wasn't used to being in my home," Terzian said.
But after three weeks, the little bird and Terzian bonded and became so close that when her daughter came to take her bird, Terzian cried.
"My daughter turned around and said, `Mom, you can keep him,"' Terzian said. "So, I did."
She not only received the gift of a new house companion, but also the inspiration to write a short story about the bird-sitting adventure.
Terzian, author of the novel "The Immigrants' Daughter" submitted the 1,200-word piece "A Guest in My Nest" which was selected to be included in the anthology "The Ultimate Bird Lover: Stories and Advice on Our Feathered Friends at Home and in the Wild."
The anthology, published by Health Communications Inc., will be available in book stores beginning Jan. 15.
"I thought it was a good story to share and I wanted to write about it," Terzian said, and submitted the piece to HCI last year. Her piece was approved in November.
Terzian likened caring for a bird to a mother tending to her child.
"Cockatiels are small and they need a lot of attention," she said. "It really brought out my maternal instincts. It was just like having another family member."
Terzian and Poupee lived together for five years until the cockatiel flew away after Terzian accidentally left the cage door open.
"I went outside and called his name," she said. "I was devastated."
Terzian eventually purchased another cockatiel - this time, a female.
"She knew what she wanted," Terzian said. "She was a girl, after all."
Terzian said tending to birds is easier than taking care of cats and dogs.
"You can let them free around the house, and they are very attached to humans beings," she said. "My second cockatiel liked to play with my hair. They just give you a lot of love."