Putting out a feeder to help birds make it through the cold months is something a lot of Canadians do.
But in one Calgary yard, it’s led to an unexpected holiday season guest.
JB and Wendy Isaacs have found themselves hosting a parakeet.
“I can only assume that it escaped from somewhere,” Wendy said.
“If it’s somebody’s pet, it would be nice if they got it back,” JB said.
Since the Isaacs noticed the parakeet in their yard in mid-October 2021, the bird has spent most of its time among the flocks of sparrows that often visit the couple’s bird feeders.
“Because the parakeet can mimic the sparrows’ call, the sparrows accept it into the flock,” Wendy said. “I worry about it wintering, like, it’s pretty cold.
“I’ve looked at all sorts of ways of trying to catch it, but I haven’t been able to get near it.”
“I’m not sure we should catch it,” JB said. “If it was in distress or something, I’d be happy to help out, but it seems to be surviving and quite happy — just support it.”
Staff at a pet store that has several parakeets said the birds are ill-suited to Calgary’s winter climate.
“It is chilly, so it could be very tough for (the parakeet in the Isaacs’ yard) to survive this winter,” Pisces Pet Emporium’s Kelsey Watkiss said. “Who knows, maybe he’s got some Christmas miracle helping him out, some warm places to hide.”
The Isaacs said it appears the parakeet is finding suitable shelter from the elements.
“The area in the back where the vine is, the heat from the furnace and the dryer come up there,” Wendy said. “The birds seem to hover in that vine a lot, so he knows where to go.”
The Isaacs have come up with a name for their unexpected visitor.
“I call him Skeeter,” Wendy said. “I was thinking, ‘Parakeet — what rhymes with parakeet? And skeet works and he skitters around,’ and Skeeter seemed like a good name.”
The couple wishes Skeeter well for the holiday season and beyond into 2022.
“I hope he survives the winter and stays through the summer,” JB said, adding with a laugh “And if he’s going to be with the sparrows and they cross-mate, I’m just wondering what colour sparrows we’re going to end up with”.