Rest In Peace-Buckwheat

Buckwheat

October 16, 1998 – September 29, 2017

6:45 PM

It is a sad evening, our beloved store mascot, Buckwheat, has passed away.

Buckwheat had many friends who loved to visit with him when they came into the store. Often his special friends would go straight to his cage when they came in the door, talk to him and whistle a tune before coming to the counter.

He was an old man, 19 in human years, 124 in bird years. He was never sick a single day of his life until this afternoon.

Buckwheat came to us October 16, 1998, the fall we moved into our new addition, as a very young fella. He was hand-fed and hand-raised by breeder Lynda Deanne.  We did not have an exact date of his birth but always used the day he came to us as his birthday even though he was already about 6 weeks old.  I wanted a bird that talked… some, but not a loud, shrill, mouthy bird like a parrot. Lynda has just the bird for us.  We named him Buckwheat because of his hair do!! Buckwheat learned to whistle the “Andy Griffith Mayberry theme song and “Pop Goes the Weasel”.  At the time, we had a cat named Oscar. He would say, “here kitty, kitty. Oscar’s a whimp”.  The day Oscar died was the last he crowed that taunt.   If I went out to the store after closing time to work in the office and turned on the store lights he would squawk “Good-night” until I turned them off. It’s the only time he would say that phrase.

Buckwheat was usually a silent sentry, standing guard and observing all the doings of the day.  We never knew when he would burst into song and whistle his heart out. His favorite time of the day to whistle was first thing in the morning.

 

Buckwheat did not particularly care for children though they loved him and were attracted to his cage. Often he would squawk in fear if they came too close to his cage. Children didn’t quite know how to interact with him in a way that he didn’t feel threatened.  He did not like it when they poked their fingers or another object into his turf or made shrill noises instead of talking to him.

There were three noises that he did not like: the vacuum sweeper, the clanking of the dog tag machine and pulling tape off the tape gun. That last sound was like fingernails on the chalk board to him and would send him in a squawking fit.  He also did not like us intruding in his space to clean his house.

One time we were positioning a rack of coats in the area by his cage and it flipped over, knocking him, in his cage, to the floor with a loud crash.  He never did forgive us for that horrifying scare!  For years, in the fall whenever we put up the rake of coats, he would have a squawking bird fit, fearing the coats were going to attack him again.

During baby chick season, we often had a tub or two of baby chicks by his cage. He was not fond of the “chicken nuggets” and their chirping tweets and would express his displeasure until he tired of his own hissy fit.

Buckwheat liked neck/backrubs. If we said “backrub”, he would scoot across the perch to the side of the cage and put his neck down so that we could rub it. Then quick as a wink, he would turn and snip at our fingers. One of his favorite tricks was when I went to his cage and said, “give mommy a kiss”. He would edge close as I made a kissing sound by smacking my lips and he would respond by smacking his beak.

Yesterday, Summer noticed that he was all fluffed up on his perch when we came to work. We thought maybe he was a little cold as it was cooler during the night but didn’t really give much thought to it. He seemed ok during the day. This morning it was the same thing. We put his heat lamp on but he stayed huddled all day.  This afternoon we took him out of the cage and examined him. He was very thin, feather-light, and his vent was impacted. We cleaned him up but realized, Buckwheat was very ill and was declining rapidly in front of our eyes. We knew he was not going to last long.

Within a very short time he could no longer stand so we made a bed for him in a small box. His eyes kept going closed but when we talked to him and rubbed his back he would struggle to open his eyes and look at us before they would flutter shut again. Regardless of where I stood in relation to his box, when I spoke to him he would struggle to turn his head and look at me and smack his beak with a kissing sound. We kept telling him we loved him and that he had been a good store bird.

I brought him home with me this evening and checked on him every few minutes as I fixed supper.  Around 6:45 he was gone.

Rest in peace, Buckwheat. You will be sorely missed.

Buckwheat has four very special friends that he loved besides his store family and seemed to recognize whenever they came into the store: Vanessa Upson, Donna Wyatt, Terry Graber and Clyde Kirby. Vanessa was his absolute favorite and we called her his girlfriend. Clyde taught him the Mayberry theme song. Donna and Terry, thanks for being Buckwheat’s friend. You always spoke to him and knew how to speak his language. And, a special thanks to Summer Bass for being his loving and diligent daily caregiver for…how many years????!!!!  You were his friend and always kind and loving to him.

 

2 Comments »

  1. Julia Witmer Said:

    So sorry for your loss of Buckwheat. What a nice sentry for your store!

  2. Jewel ritchie Said:

    Loved your story. I am sure you will miss buckwheat. I am sure if I had met him I would have loved him. I have a pair of parraketts and I love birds in general. Thanks for sharing.


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