In the spring of 1984, as I was a senior in high school in Chugiak Alaska, a woman came into the store I worked at with a cockatiel on her shoulder. It began a converstaion that led to my finding out that she was a local breeder of these colorful birds. One thing led to another and soon my parents were in the posession of a recently weaned baby cockatiel named Ace.

Ace became my father’s good friend. Having been hand fed since hatching, he loved hanging out with people and spent the majority of his time on the top of his cage. Early on, he learned to whistle for the dogs and got great joy out of calling the dogs into his room.

After spending the first 20 years of his life in Alaska, ace moved to our home in Utah in 2004. With my parents splitting their time between Alaska and Arizona, they felt that Ace would be better off in a stable environment. He joined our two cockatiels (Sunshine and Mattie) and quickly took over the senior status of the flock. It was exciting to see that after spending his whole life alone, Ace and Sunshine began a May / November romance.

Sadly, yesterday Ace passed away. He had just turned 22 years old. The average lifespan for a cockatiel is 12-15 years, so Ace defied the odds. My daughters created a nice wooden box for him and he is now buried in the backyard.

He will be missed.