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.
Whew. Pao is 12 and a half weeks old today, his weight is now 8.4 kg. And what a day it was. It ended with Pao gaining free rein over most of the house, and emergency electrical work for safety’s sake.
In the morning, I went upstairs to change to go shopping. When I came down I found Pao sitting on the stairs where you see him. But… his fenced in corner with a door was just sitting there as usual, with the door closed and locked. Somehow Pao figured out how to get out.
There are various issues with him running all over the place by himself. Toilet issues seem to be mostly under control (today he was 100% good, but who knows what he’s doing as I post this), but he does grab things and start chewing on them. There is a lot of organizing and putting things away that needs to be done.
But the most dangerous thing is that Pao seems to like this nest of wires by the refrigerator and microwave. I covered it all up with tape, and tried various “dogs hate this” sprays to keep him away, but he just wanted to play with the cords and electrocute himself and burn the house down.
So I sent a LINE message to Furumori-san, our handyman, asking if he would come over and give some advice. Pao was quite excited to meet him.
He looked over the situation and after lots of “Oh my G-d, Oh my G-d” and giving me a lecture about how dangerous and thin and old and dusty my cords were, he said we should drive over to nearby Kojima Denki (the electronics shop in my area) and get new cords.
(Idea to make money: start a service where I release Pao into different people’s houses so he can give them a good safety check.)
Here Pao is seeing us off as we leave to get electrical stuff.
Pao says goodbye as we go down the front steps…
And he’s waiting for us on the stairs when we get back.
While we were gone he was “so so.” He didn’t have any toilet accidents, but he did pull up a corner of the large rug in the dining room. And somehow he managed to find a plastic bag and shred it into about 100 pieces. But besides that everything seemed ok, so I would say that’s pretty good.
While Furumori-san was working on the cords, I saw how Pao was getting out, because he did it twice right in front of me. He figured out a no-effort way of using the side of the staircase as his own private exit from the fenced in area. Basically a small climb onto the fence, and small leap to the stairs.
The fence is utterly meaningless at this point. In fact, the door, if closed, would mean he wouldn’t be able to get back in and use the toilet. So we have tied it in an open position to make sure he doesn’t accidentally close it himself, which he has done several times now while dragging stuff out to play with.
Here’s the new cords setup – high up and out of reach and all new and safe. Plugs for the microwave, air-fryer, Monta’s radio, and some other stuff.
Pao sees Furumori-san off… Come back and visit soon!
Then Pao relaxes a bit under the stairs in the dining room.
Meanwhile Monta was taking in all the action with some interest. I’m surprised he didn’t get startled with everything going on. But he just sat there and chirped, watched what was going on, and ate his food. Now that it’s warmer I need to take him over to get his nails trimmed.
And in other “developments” Pao is getting generally bigger, not just heavier. Here he is while I was making my dinner and you can see he can almost reach the counter. He was also sniffing the potatoes I was preparing.
When I’m in the computer room (which is definitely not ready for him to wander around in yet) and the door to the dining room is closed, he seems to like sitting here on the stairs waiting for one of us to come play.
It’s still not perfect though. The way the stairs are built he can end up with his rear legs hanging over the back and his front legs hanging over the front and he whimpers and doesn’t quite seem to get himself out of that position. I am guessing at the rate he’s figuring everything out that will be ok by morning.
He does seem more relaxed this way though, less anxious in general, now that he’s not cooped up as much.