Old World Aviaries

A Bird Breeder's Christmas

by Gayle Soucek

T'was the night before Christmas and all through the flights,
Not a bird was stirring since I turned off the lights.
Clean dishes were stacked by the freezer with care,
So in the morning they would be filled with fresh healthy fare.
The babies were handfed, the pet birds out to play
Everyone was settled- I was done for the day.

When down from the basement there arose such a clatter
That I ran for the stairs to see what was the matter
I raced down the steps and turned on the light
Glancing first to my left and then to my right
It was then that I noticed the now empty spot
In the cage where the Cockatoos should be but were not!

"The Goffins are missing" I yelled to my spouse
While I shuddered to think what they'd do to the house
My fears were well founded, I soon came to know
As I surveyed the destruction in the bird room below.
Feeding doors had been opened, the dishes all tossed
Bags were ripped open their contents all lost.
The marauders unfastened from the cage tops each toy.
Which they tossed at the occupants below with such joy.

The other birds sulked as they viewed the whole mess.
This Cockatoo Duo had created such stress!
I searched through the room, my frustration profound
Those two fiendish beasts simply weren't to be found!
It was then that I noticed the Senegal staring
As his eyes flashed with anger I saw he was glaring
Towards the side of the room at an overturned pail
I followed his gaze and saw a flash of white tail

Holding my breath I approached with great care
Was it possible both could be hiding in there?
I snatched up the bucket and the villains were exposed
They knew they were busted and for a second they froze.
Then with a Cockatoo shriek and scrambling of feet
They raced for their cage in hasty retreat
I slammed the door shut as I trembled with rage
"Don't you two ever, ever come out of your cage!"

They stared at me smugly cheeks puffed with contentment
Their mission accomplished they ignored my resentment
"I'll clean up tomorrow," I said aloud with a sigh
As I walked toward the steps one 'Too said "bye-bye."
As I turned with a grin I felt suddenly calm
Their sweet little voices could act as a balm

For along with their mischief, they brought love and fun
It was hard to stay angry despite what they'd done.
My jangled nerves and life's hectic pace
Had made me forget what was in my face
I didn't need gifts, fancy stuff from the store
I had all I needed, my birds and much more!

My dear friends and family, my health and my spouse
Everything that mattered was right here in this house
So Santa I thank you but I don't need a lot
I'm learning to be grateful for all that I've got.
If you come down my chimney to bring something new
Just leave me some padlocks so I can lock up the 'Toos!!

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