My Parakeets and Cockatiels Have Found a New Home At Capitol City Bird Society

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Gold DRE #00697006

Cockatiels in Land ParkTransporting the birds from Minneapolis to Sacramento was not an easy task. The plan in the spring of 2002 was my husband would drive to Sacramento and get an apartment, while I stayed behind to sell the house. He had to immediately start a job as managing editor of the Sacramento Business Journal, a job he lost due to management changes in 2008. (He's still unemployed.)

As my husband was packing to drive across country, it dawned on me that he could take the parakeet with him. An idea he firmly resisted. It made sense because I knew I would fly to Sacramento only once during our separation, and Northwest Airlines policy would allow me to transport two birds but not three. When he refused, my eyes teared up. I said, "Fine, then I may as well open the door and let all the birds fly away."

He put the parakeet in his car.

A couple of months later, I flew out to Sacramento to look at homes in Land Park and celebrate our wedding anniversary. I put the cockatiels in a breeding box and grabbed a cab to the airport. You have to buy a ticket for pets. They don't fly free. At the ticket counter, the Northwest representative refused to sell me tickets because I didn't have a health certificate for the cockatiels.

My plane was leaving in an hour. I explained it was my wedding anniversary; I almost started to cry. I had to get on that plane and could not leave the birds at the ticket counter. I asked for a supervisor. After much discussion, Northwest gave me tickets.

Going through security was another challenge. I didn't want the birds X-rayed. I don't know what I was worried about. Maybe that it would microwave them? I was still shaken by the fact I almost didn't get on the plane. Security personnel said they would have to look down the birds' throats if I didn't put them through X-ray. The birds would bite me if I tried to touch them. I mean, you try to stuff 2 cockatiels in a breeding box. It's not easy. They went through X-ray.

Finally, settled in my seat with the birds on the floor, the plane took off down the runway. A flight attendant stopped at my seat. "What's in the box? That can't be on the floor; it must go in an overhead bin."

I smiled.

"California snakes."

She gingerly picked up the box and carefully carried it to the closet at the front of the plane.

I tell you all this because last night the birds found a new home. Capitol City Bird Society came to my home in Land Park. They are placing the birds with a new family. It was bittersweet. Of the four who left, only one was an original bird from Minneapolis. I had been searching for someone to adopt them because I haven't been a very good birdmom. I haven't bonded with the new birds. I've been too busy selling real estate over the years to pay attention to them, apart from cleaning out their cages and feeding them. It wasn't fair to them. Birds need human interaction and love.

I already miss their songs and chirping. But keeping birds in a corner of the family room only to listen to their singing isn't right. It's very quiet this morning. And weird. I have a little hole in my heart.

Photo: Elizabeth Weintraub

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Elizabeth Weintraub is co-partner of Weintraub & Wallace Team of Top Producing Realtors, an author, home buying expert at The Balance, a Land Park resident, and a veteran real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown, Carmichael and East Sacramento, as well as tract homes in Elk Grove, Natomas, Roseville and Lincoln. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put our combined 80 years of real estate experience to work for you. Broker-Associate at RE/MAX Gold. DRE License # 00697006.

Photo: Unless otherwise noted in this blog, the photo is copyrighted by Big Stock Photo and used with permission.The views expressed herein are Weintraub's personal views and do not reflect the views of RE/MAX Gold. Disclaimer: If this post contains a listing, information is deemed reliable as of the date it was written. After that date, the listing may be sold, listed by another brokerage, canceled, pending or taken temporarily off the market, and the price could change without notice; it could blow up, explode or vanish. To find out the present status of any listing, please go to


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Katie McBride
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
The McBride Team

I love the "california snakes" comment.  Great idea.  You had such a difficult day, and you sound like such a bird lover.

Jan 24, 2010 12:40 AM #1
Gordon Lane - selling homes in Sacramento and Yolo Counties
Virtual Realty Group - Sacramento, CA

It's hard but you did the right thing. I really miss having dogs but have had to accept that I'm just too busy to own a dog right now. German Shorthaired Retrievers are good family dogs but need lots of outdoor time and exercise - it just wouldn't be right to leave one at home all day alone.

Jan 24, 2010 01:00 AM #2
Judy Jennings
The Green Company - Ashland, MA
Broker - The Lanterns at Warren Woods - Ashland MA

I understand your dilemma. Not everyone is cut out to be a good bird mom. You did the right thing.

Jan 24, 2010 01:01 AM #3
Robin Rogers
Robin Rogers, Silverbridge Realty, San Antonio, Texas - San Antonio, TX
CRS, TRC, MRP - Real Estate Investment Adviser

Birds, even small ones, require a lot more attention than people think. I have been there, too. Good for you to be realistic and brave enough to find them a new home.



Jan 24, 2010 01:31 AM #4
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Like Gordon, I would like to have a dog but I realize my lifestyle is not conducive to having a dog. The cats keep me busy enough. If one of them is hungry, they make certain I know about it, even if it means crawling up my back while I'm typing on my keyboard and smurfing my head.

land park agent

Jan 24, 2010 02:49 AM #5
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Elizabeth:  I am glad that you found a new home for your birds.  You are right.  It's not right to keep them for their beautiful gift of music, and give them nothing in return.  I know you'd love to be able to give the love and interaction they need, but it's good that you know your limitations.

Jan 24, 2010 03:12 AM #6
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Doing the right thing, the best thing is rarely the easy thing.  Do you get to know who the new family is or meet them?  When I moved last time I left a cat behind.. my mom kept it (she lived next door) and the cat loved outside and I was afraid she would not adapt well to being inside and would have been afraid to put her outside at the new place.  But I knew Mollee had a good home.  The plan was to be petless...  and actually we were furniture-less longer than we were petless.  My daughter's father gave her a cat for her birthday (fleas and all) and now we are up to 3 cats and two dogs.  As for birds... I just feed to the ones outside and enjoy their music.

Jan 24, 2010 05:11 AM #7
Jeanean Gendron
The Address Realty - Redding, CA
Specializing in Selling Unique Properties

Elizabeth, what a sweet story and I am so sorry for the little hole in your heart. It will get better with time and I'm sure that you made the right decision. We have a Golden Retriever that is the center of our lives. Someone is always with her and we won't put her in a kennel. We bought a Motorhome so we can take her on vacation with us. Real estate makes it hard. I'm away all the time but David is at home with her. We take her when we can. You did the right thing! Sweetest story!

Jan 24, 2010 10:01 AM #8
Donne Knudsen
Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA - Simi Valley, CA
CalState Realty Services

Elizabeth - I can't imagine how hard that must have been for you.  Take solace in knowing you did the right thing for the birdies.  They're in a good place now. 

Jan 24, 2010 11:20 AM #9
Terry & Bonnie Westbrook
Westbrook Realty Broker-Owner - Grand Rapids, MI
Westbrook Realty - Grand Rapids Forest Hills MI Re

What we do for our pets. But they do seem to be part of the family.

Jan 24, 2010 03:21 PM #10
Robert Machado
HomePointe Property Management, CRMC - Sacramento, CA
CPM MPM - Property Manager and Property Management

Sounds like you made the right decision.  I know our dogs need a lot of attention.

Jan 24, 2010 04:37 PM #11
Miriam Bernstein, CRS
Rochester, NY

Glad you found a new home for your birds at least you will know they are being taken good care of.

Jan 24, 2010 06:43 PM #12
Mary Douglas
United Country Ponderosa Realty, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado - Red Feather Lakes, CO
REALTOR, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado

I'm sorry Elizabeth, I'll bet it is very quiet. Knowing you did the right thing will make it easier because you cared more about them than yourself.  You know, I loved your story about relocating, and taking the birds on the plane.  Crank up the tunes, it won't seem so quiet there!

Jan 25, 2010 04:24 AM #13
Wendy Rulnick
Rulnick Realty, Inc. - Destin, FL
"It's Wendy... It's Sold!"

Elizabeth - They actually were going to look down the bird throats at security?  That is insane.

Jan 25, 2010 09:06 AM #14
Gabrielle Nemes
RE/MAX Realty South - Tumwater, WA
206.300.8421, S King & Pierce County RE Advocate

Ohhhhh, pets consume so much of our lives, don't they? I'm sorry you had to find your birds a new home, but what a responsible "mom" you are! I'm sure this is so much better for them.

Jan 25, 2010 02:35 PM #15
Gabrielle Nemes
RE/MAX Realty South - Tumwater, WA
206.300.8421, S King & Pierce County RE Advocate

Ohhhhh, pets consume so much of our lives, don't they? I'm sorry you had to find your birds a new home, but what a responsible "mom" you are! I'm sure this is so much better for them.

Jan 25, 2010 02:36 PM #16
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