African grey parrot

Ruby is Gone

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african grey parrot
Ruby, stepping out!

I’ve dreaded writing this post, but I can’t avoid it any longer. We lost a member of our flock a couple of weeks ago. We found Ruby, our African Grey, dead on the floor of her cage. As a rescue parrot, she came with a history that we only partially know. As prey animals, birds are experts at hiding any illness, and she displayed no symptoms of being ill except for needing a beak trim now and then. When we took her in as a rescue, we were told that she might have fatty liver disease, and gave her the suggested holistic treatment. She didn’t display any further symptoms, but it must not have been enough. African Greys in captivity can live to be a hundred years old, so either she had fatty liver disease that was much further advanced than we knew or something else happened. We’ll never know. Ruby was only 16 years old, and we didn’t expect to lose her so soon. I am somewhat consoled by knowing that her five years with us were happy ones.

african grey parrot
Ruby in 2012, watching as we filled our bookcases.

Sugar, our cockatoo, has been grieving, avoiding contact with the rest of us for the most part for the past two weeks. He has just now begun to come around for snuggling and scritching again. Although he and Ruby weren’t mated, they enjoyed flocking together to watch cartoons on television, and he has obviously been affected by her passing.  As our alpha bird, Sugar bullies any bird that he thinks competes with him for my affection, so I had to keep a bit of an emotional distance from Ruby, although I’ve been responsible for her daily care for her time she with us. Since she my husband adored her and spent time with her, I knew her emotional needs were met.

African grey parrot
My favorite picture of Ruby.

My husband had wanted an African Grey parrot since before we married, and he was so happy to add Ruby to our family. She accepted him as her person and enjoyed being special with him. Ruby was a wonderful, gentle presence in our home. She is missed.

african grey parrot
In the wild, African Grey parrots like to dig for minerals in special types of clay deposits. She must have vestigial memories of this, because she loved to run around on the floor, terrorizing our toes!


  1. oh what a shock. We love greatly and grieve greatly. She was just so beautiful. I’m so sorry to hear of your loss, and that of your cockatiel. So much loss is just coping day to day. LeeAnna

    Liked by 1 person

  2. After just meeting Ruby and Sugar on Bacon’s blog, I am also shocked and saddened at Ruby’s passing. When I worked at a vet who included avians in her practice, I remember how birds were the worst about never displaying symptoms until it was often too late. My deepest sympathies to you and your whole famiily.

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    1. Thank you. Yes, she flies free. She learned how to fly at our house; she’d always had her wings clipped before. 😣 I hope her time with us taught her that in her next life, she deserves freedom.

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      1. I was busy, busy with my show and the move. The relief I felt just by leaving that toxic house was remarkable, but I’m settled now in my new home and life, so I took an anticipated nose dive… just much deeper than expected to. Plus, my Penny hasn’t recovered completely from emergency surgery 2 months ago. I’ve been considering my girls’ mortality lately. They’re old. It’s coming. I can’t imagine yet how that must feel. My girls are the first animal companions of my life. But their passing at any time would be age appropriate. I’m sorry for the surprise of your loss. I’m glad you’re able to appreciate how good she had it in the happy last years of her life. Sending love. ❤

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        1. Thank you. We thought she had many more years ahead of her; we still look for her, expecting her to be there. My oldest cat is terminally ill, and watching him decline has been really sad. I know what you mean about your cats.


          1. At least we can prepare with those that are old and ill. It’s still so unfathomably painful and difficult. I can’t imagine how much harder it would be to lose someone unexpectedly, like Ruby. ((xoxo))

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  3. So sorry for your and your husband’s loss – and Sugar’s as well. The Bach Flower Remedy “Star of Bethlehem” helped me tremendously when trying to get over the loss of my dog last year. It took away the pain and that feeling of numbness that often accompanies it. It might also help you and your husband – as well as Sugar – to recover from this unexpected event. That, or the homeopathic remedy “Ignatia Amara”. Placing them by Sugar’s cage may be enough to help him, as the remedies are energetic in nature (and have ingredients that may not agree with a bird’s system).

    Again, my deepest sympathies…


    1. Thanks for the idea. I have Star Of Bethlehem. I’ll have to be sure it is alcohol free, and if it isn’t, I’ll See If I can find some.’thank you for the advice.


  4. I’m sorry… You are not alone 🙂 Sending you universal love hugs of condolences. This stuff, It hurts like crazy.

    I too lost a friend this month. Actually last week. Grumbles-A-Lot. She was a favored spoiled rotten hen, who I’ve cared for, for over seven years. The farmer I got her from said, “maybe 3 or 4 years old”. Likely 4. So, In my *henstamation, she was likely about Twelve. She’d had a good life.

    I’m sure Ruby would chose you guys every day, over her life past life. You were her saviors.

    I still think I see other animals who have passed. Just glimpses of them, then they pop into my head. Then, I remember they are “gone”. Maybe not? 🙂 Maybe they still come see me… I like to think that.

    Blessings your way…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry for your loss. People think birds are aloof and uncaring, and it’s just not true. They think differently, but they care just like any other person or animal. And yes, I think they come back to visit; we will sometimes see or feel them!


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