Those of you who have visited our farm may have had the opportunity to meet Petie — the common brown mynah bird that lived in our dining room. Unlike our six parrots, Petie preferred to live indoors with the family. We are devastated to report that Petie passed away at 11 AM today, cradled in the palm of Lili’s hand and held close against her chest. At the age of 12 or 13, Petie was quite an elderly bird, living beyond the reported maximum life expectancy of her species — and although it is comforting to know that Petie lived a long and happy life, that doesn’t mitigate our sorrow at her passing.
Petie chose to move into our home when we were living on Oahu. She’d spent almost a month investigating some empty bird cages we had outside the house, and finally perched on a window ledge near our back door, begging for food. When we opened the door to feed her, she took the food from our fingers and flew into the house, perching in the rafters. When we placed an empty bird cage on the kitchen counter with the doors wired open, Petie flew right in and made herself at home. Although we hung her cage with the doors open outside the house for over a week at the suggestion of a local vet, Petie never left to join the wild mynahs and seemed relieved when we finally closed the cage doors and moved her back into the house.
Initially, DNA tests reported that Petie was a male — which is why we named her Petie — but she subsequently laid a full clutch of infertile eggs, making it crystal clear that she was all girl. Petie was our constant companion from that time on, and her death leaves a terrible hole in our home and our hearts. We will miss her chirping and whistles, her demands for “cheese worms”, and her participation in every dinnertime conversation. Fly free, Petie — you were truly and deeply loved.