I went over to the Ekoin to pick up Monta’s urn just before. It’s located in Ryogoku, which is also the home to the main sumo stadium, and the Edo Museum, and is just 4 stops from Shinkoiwa, where I live.
Everybody is home again. I’m sure Mon is thrilled to have Monta close by again. And that Hao is thrilled to have someone else for Mon to share her attention with.
Monta, who came to live with us in 2012 when he was two years old, passed away quietly this morning at almost 10 years of age. Of the three Java Sparrows I have had, he by far lived to be the oldest, exceeding average life expectancy.
He originally came, from a Java Sparrow adoption site, to be a companion for Mon-chan (see the day he arrived: https://lerner.net/meet-monta-kun/). While they never really became a couple, and Mon-chan passed away about three years ago, they at least kept each other company, and flew around and seemed to have fun squabbling.
All three Java Sparrows I owned had very different personalities. Hao was probably the most intelligent and inquisitive. He would come if you called him by name, and enjoyed exploring my desk. Mon was probably the gentlest, but she too would come if you called her. She was also fairly inquisitive. Monta basically never strayed from his cage unless you took him out, but he was the most easy to handle. He never seemed interested in roaming about my desk though. But he liked playing on me, going in my shirt, and hanging out. Both Hao and Mon would sit on my fingers, but only Monta liked being petted and cuddling in the palm of my hand. And he had a beautiful, vibrant Java Sparrow bird song.
The last year Monta had been going downhill. He hasn’t been able to fly for a long time, so I moved his favorite place in the world – his swing – next to his food and water. He also had cataracts and couldn’t see out of his right eye. But up until yesterday he still had an appetite. Yesterday he did seem to noticeably sleep a lot more though.
This morning I found him huddled by his food container, and he didn’t seem to be able to sit on his swing or the perch by the food. I took him over for his morning shower at the kitchen sink (he hasn’t been able to take baths by himself for a while), and while he usually chirps and sometimes even sings a little during his shower, this morning he showed no reaction at all.
I tried coaxing him to react, which can see in this video:
I tried rubbing him and talking to him to get a reaction. At one point at least he seemed to hear me and react a bit:
It was obvious that he was drifting away, so I sang him a lullaby. He didn’t seem to be in pain or distress. Just drifting away…
We prepared Monta to take him over to the Ekouin, where both Hao and Mon were cremated. It’s worth reading about the history of the temple, which dates back to 1657. The neighborhood is only 5 stops from my station.
Two photo’s showing Monta’s box in the chilled preparation room before cremation, along with some other pets who were brought over today.
Afterwards we visited the inner temple and offered some incense for Monta. I will pick up his urn on Thursday and put it beside the urns for Hao and Mon.
On the way home from my station, there was a flock of still pigeons just standing there in the park as I walked way. They didn’t scatter or fly away. They just stood there. It was a very eery feeling. Like they were a bird honor guard for Monta.
At home, every time I pass Monta’s cage I can’t help but glance in it to make sure Monta is doing ok. A very lonely feeling. I think Monta will be the last Java Sparrow I own. I will need to find a good place to donate this large cage – which I originally lugged all the way from St. Louis – and bags of unopened bird feed, dried fruits and green vitamin pellets.
Even though I knew Monta was really old for a Java Sparrow – maybe nearing 100 in bird years – I was so used to him being there all the time I miss him. Rest in well-deserved peace, Monta.