Sissi and Nam Nam It is difficult for bird owners to talk of their thoughts and feelings on their pets, especially about death. Upon searching for inforamtion on the internet, I once came upon a site on budgerigars (www.birds-online.de). The webmaster, a German lady, includes a memorial page of her deceased birds, believing her beloved pet have gone to heaven.

I, myself, had a couple of budgies for over eight years. Sissi was a yellow-green, brave female and Näm Näm was a blue, talkative male. Sissi died of acute pneumonia; after half a year Näm Näm was diagnosed liver cancer and died shortly. It is now exactly four years after Näm Näm's passing, I am still keeping the vivid memories of them. Using the obituary of a 12 years-old budgie, I hope to express my feelings through the writing of the others (next article).

Sissi & Nam Nam


When I was choosing a name for Sissi, she seemed likely to be called "Daisy". Then I did not want to use the popular name of a big dog character in the cartoon. Later, a friend suggested Si Si or Shi Shi, which are pronounced the same in Cantonese. I finally decided to use si (sī) - the word for silk, fitting for her yellow colour and her tiny size. Sissi is the English spelling for sīsī. For Namnam, I made up a Chinese name from two characters, meaning blue and Nan-wood in Cantonese. (The name of this Site is dedicated to Sissi).

By Gordon Li, 18 May 2007

An Article published in The Toronto Star, Sunday, February 16, 2003

Chirpie, 12, had his say


It was a young budgie and being an artist, Barbara was quick to admire its colouration, the soft golden yellow with a white bib dappled with blue dots and a splash of azure above its beak. Barbara constructed a perch by spearing a pencil through the walls of a box and made her visitor as comfortable as possible.

Then the search began. She put up notices. Had any neighbour lost a bird? Or want a bird? There were no takers.

A relative provided a birdcage and the library had books on the care and feeding of budgies. Her visitor took up permanent residence in the apartment and acquired a name: Chirpie.

After about a year, a new tenant was added. An unwanted cat, brown-coated with flecks of gold, was adopted and named Bali.


One evening, Barbara was alone with her two pets. Suddenly, she heard a voice say: "Hi, Sweetie." It was Chirpie! Surprised and delighted, Barbara began to teach her pupil every day to produce words and even sentences. His vocabulary increased to 35 words - "hubba hubba", "zing zing", "kiss kiss", "where's Bali?"; "Chirpie want a kiss" - plus coughing and kissing sounds and a wolf whistle.

Chirpie's great delight was to hear a tap turned on full blast. He would then uplift Barbara spirits by accompanying the torrent of water with a torrent of water with a torrent of song.

When released from the cage. he would fly joyfully about, strut across the table with his own peculiar waddley gait, give Barbara a kiss on her nose with the tip of his tongue and revel in having the side of his jaw lightly scratched.

After 12 happy years, there came the day of sadness. Chirpie's left claw was not clutching his perch in the normal way. Barbara tried to help him keep his balance, but with his usual show of independence, he resisted any assistance and struggled to remain upright on his own. Gently, Barbara took him from the cage and cradled him in the warmth of her hand. He opened his eyes wide and looked up into her face. The rhythmic pulsating in his breast began to slow, and then ceased.

Barbara lined a prettily decorated box with the softest fleece and placed the wee body inside, together with his favourite mirror. She buried him beside the brightest flower in her garden.

Dear Chirpie, no more your cheerful greetings. Your merry little songs are stilled. You were such a tiny creature to fill so large a place in Barbara's life - so fragile of body, so stout of heart, so huge of soul.

E. Walton Raphael, Burlington, Ontario

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My Budgerigars

SiSi NamNam
Sissi (Dec 1994-Oct 2002) Näm Näm (Feb 1995-May 2003)
Sha Sha Lili
Sha Sha (October 2003)
Escaped & did not return after a freezing snowy night
Lili (Jan 2004-Jan 2005)
BB KayKay
BB (May 2004-Nov 2008) KayKay (May 2004-Jul 2009)
DiDi FiFi
DiDi (Nov 2002-Dec 2009)
mate of Kay Kay
FiFi (Nov 2008-Jun 2012)
died of heart attack
MiMi GaGa
MiMi (Nov 2002-Sep 2014) GaGa (Nov 2009-Dec 2015)
GiGi (July 2017)
died of hernia&egg laying

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An Experience with A Sick Bird

Kay Kay was a female yellow-green budgie.

In early spring of 2009, I noticed she was slightly limping; by May she also showed symptoms of reproductive and/or kidney cancer. Quickly she became paralyzed and had a growth on the spine in June. Otherwise, she was very healthy and happy and still enjoyed flying up and rested at the highest shelf of the wall cabinet in the room.

Even though the other birds did not bother her too much. I decided to remove her from them and kept her in a home-made hospital cage. Meanwhile, the weather turned very usually cold for this June and July. I needed to keep her cage warm with a 50W infra-red lamp. As the cage did not have a thermostat, I got up several times in the night to check the temperature and the humidity inside the cage. In the day, I allowed the other birds to visit her by getting through a gap at the bottom of the sliding glass door.

Sadly, she was losing weight rapidly. She had a fighting spirit. She preferred dry seeds and was still eager to peck into her seed cups, but I began to use a dropper to feed her with liquid supplement. I used a formula of soy protein, glucose, vitamins, ground seeds and spring water. Initially, she gained back her weight. Before the force-feeding started, her weight was 28 grams, her weight went up to 34 grams in a week. She still could eat a little dry seed on her own and told me she could heartily finish the whole seed cups. I almost thought she could beat the cancer and could recover soon.

In her last week, she, however, realized she really depended on my liquid food and antibiotics. Suddenly, her weight dropped again and she was losing strength. It seemed that the illness might have progressed into other internal organs.

One day, she walked a little after the morning check-up and feeding. Back in the cage, she sat down and went into alternative modes of waking and sleeping. I realized it could be her last day and I had to give her up. I got out my camera and took her last photo. In hours, she was dying. At the end I put her on my palm and watched her giving up her last breath.

So, it seems to be a sad story of the ordinary passing of a tiny bird. Some would think it is silly to waste time as no one has ever seen a budgie recovers from cancer. A vet had told me a bird with liver cancer would not be able to eat finally. Nevertheless, in the few short months, Kay Kay and I had become knowing much better of each other. It was an experience I had never before, even when my father died. He also needed the help from my mother and the nurses for feeding and toilet routines. But, the experience of taking care of Kay Kay really teaches me about love.

When future circumstances rise again, the decision to prolong the terminal sickness of an animal friend would however still only depend on my resources and personal energy. I still prefer a natural death for them if they do not suffer in pain. I believe they would prefer living to death when situations allow for them to choose.

Gordon Li, 27 November 2009

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Other Animal Friends

Robin Tse Ya Ya
Rescued released in Jun 1996 Ya Ya,a neighbourhood crow
'Ai-ja, a neigbourhood seagull


A blue male budgerigar was about 12 years old at death. This video showed his will to live a happy life to the full limit even of his failing strength and health because of age and tumors. (16 min; Warning: scenes of a handicapped bird)
Short Film - Changing Batteries (Oscar animation winner). Theme: death of an old lady & a robot.