Over the many years I had my menagerie, my male Zebra Finch, Cheepie, was among my favourites. Abandoned by his parents as a 3-day hatchling, my mom wasn’t able to cope with raising him, so I adopted him and became mother bird for three weeks until he was weaned. With feedings every three hours, it was just like taking care of a baby. I kept him in a makeshift nest in the bathroom on a heating pad. The moment I turned on the light, he’d wiggle his tiny body and open his beak. I used a tiny syringe to feed him until his little crop bulged. When he finally opened his eyes and scraggly feathers started to appear, it was love at first sight. Once Cheepie graduated to a proper cage, he became my constant companion. He’d puff out his little chest and sing whenever he saw me, and he was free to fly around my office. All I had to do was leave his cage door open and call to him. He’d perch on the door and look around, then he’d fly toward me like a tiny missile. When I was working on the computer, he roosted on my shoulder or nested in my hair and preened it. He liked to trot along the keyboard, and I often carried him around in my fist with only his little head peeking out. He also became the proud clan leader of the thirty finches I would eventually have in my outdoor aviary. I adored my little buddy, and for ten years, he gave me so much joy.