Bill was fourteen years old and his owners were giving him up because they had two very small children; Bill rarely got their attention any more. He lived in a small laundry room and learned to how to say, "Leave the light on," because he hated to be by himself in there, in the dark. The owners claimed he learned the sentence from the girls. Just the same, once he came to live with us, we never let him be in the dark by himself.
Caring for Bill was like taking care of 2-3 year old. He was smart but had really suffered from less human companionship over the last few years. The first thing we did was open his cage, which we called, "Bill's house." We wanted him to be able to move around freely as our other two birds did. It took us over two weeks to coax him into coming out. In the end we had to bait him with sunflower seeds, which he dearly loved. He'd follow you anywhere for a sunflower seed.
Around nineteen years old he really began to have difficulty moving about. Trips to the bird doctor were not encouraging. In fact the doc was really surprised that Bill had lived so long, and told us to prepare ourselves for Bill's final leaving. A month before he turned twenty years old, Bill passed on to that big sky above, or that's the way we like to think. Somewhere in the back of my mind I hoped he would be flying in the heavens, though we never clipped his wings, he never knew he could fly. The last word he learned was "sweet" from one of our niece's the weekend before his passing on Monday. So like Bill to get the best out of the weekend even if it was his last! He was sweet! We'll always remember Bill.