Two weeks ago, I found one of my birds dead on the bottom of her cage. It was completely unexpected as she was perfectly healthy, and I couldn’t think of what had happened to her. I was devastated. I couldn’t even bring myself to take her body from the cage, and had my friends come over to help me. A week later, I found another one laying there limply in a small puddle of blood. I’d seen a magpie outside a minute beforehand, and only then did it all click into place. The stupid things killed them both, the same way they’d killed the dove I tried to save a few months ago. I was so upset that I didn’t even get to look at her properly before my sister whisked her away to bury her in the front garden next to Piper, who’d been buried exactly one week before. I loved them both, but Freckles was my favourite bird, the sweetest little cockatiel with the most loving personality. She was obsessed with food, carrots in particular, and liked stick her head in my mouth and nibble my teeth when I was talking or trying to eat. I would take her for showers with me where she’d stand beneath the water contentedly, until she sneezed from getting too much water in her nose, and I’d have to pull her away so she could breathe, much to her irritation. I had her for almost six years, and Piper for four, but in that time they made me laugh and smile so much with all the quirky little things they did, and it’s just not the same without them. In some ways, I feel silly for feeling so much grief for ‘just birds’, but I loved them the same way I love dogs and cats, and the same way animal lovers love their own pets. Grief is the same feeling no matter what it is we’ve lost – I’ve never understood why some people equate physical size to the amount of sadness felt when they die. It’s been just over a week now since Freckles died, and two since I lost Piper, but it still hurts so much. I’m just so angry that their lives were taken when they were still so young, and in such horrible, violent ways. Because it was all so sudden, it’s been much harder to accept than when I’ve lost pets to old age or disease. I can’t reverse time and shouldn’t dwell on the ‘what if’s’, but this feeling seriously sucks, and I wish death didn’t have to hurt as much as it does. I’ve never lost a person, thank goodness, but I’m dreading the day that I eventually do, because if I feel this way over pets that I owned for half a decade, what will happen when I lose those I’ve known my entire life?