The "Lovebird Ambassador"
1998 thru 2000
Beloved Pet of
Gazer was born with a condition called "Star Gazing". As a baby I would feed him "upside down", and he would always "move in circles", with his beak pointing upwards -- which is why this condition is called "star gazing". Afflicted birds seem to be gazing "towards the stars" all the time.
Little is known about this condition, which can be caused by a variety of reasons, some of which I have heard about include viral, bacterial, genetic, mal-positions in the eggs or interruptions during the incubation (egg getting cooled). Since Gazer was the first such baby born this way to parents who have produced nothing but healthy babies, I assumed it to be caused by something that happened during the incubation period. Later on, necropsy results found no viral nor bacterial lesions.
Anyhow, I kept Gazer back, not knowing how his internal organs may be affected by this condition, and he grew on me ... he really did. In fact he grew on EVERYBODY! He was the friendliest bird you would ever have seen. Oftentimes I would hear from ignorant people "Lovebirds are MEAN!" and I would put Gazer on their chest (who would hang on like a broche ;-), and he would display his friendly personality, looking at them with interest, climbing up to their shoulder, preening their hair. So, I would say, lovebirds are MEAN? And I would laugh. Gazer would change the mind of many people about lovebirds, in fact, many of them ended up getting a lovebird pet on their own!
Unfortunately, mid-2000, within just a week's time, Gazer lost a lot of weight and died while in the hospital. I was devastated. Necropsy results indicated that he died from visceral gout -- a metabolic disease affecting the kidneys. The vet mentioned that this could be caused by "hot spots" of over-supplementation or chemicals (such as ethoxiquin) in butches of manufactured diets, or too much protein in their diet. Since then I have been reevaluating my birds' diet, changing to pellets / seed mixes without ethoxiquin and other toxic chemicals, adding fresh fruits / veggies to their diet.
Gazer was a special member of our family, he is greatly missed.