Although birds are good at hiding if they're sick, there are a few signs to watch out for: nasty- (or even different-) looking poops, a bird that's sitting all puffed up, or a bird that sleeps more than normal. With male birds that typically sing their Hunka Hunka Burning Love songs a lot (and the Finsters always
sing a lot), another good sign that they're not feeling well is if they're not singing anymore.
A week or two ago, I noticed that Earl Grey wasn't singing much. I also noticed a lot of poops on the floor of the Finsterium that were chalky — not just the urates, which are normally white and chalky, but the feces, too. With a bit of careful observation, I discovered that Earl Grey was the source. This chalky poop reminds me of Goober's poop, at the end of her life. It's either a sign of liver problems, old age, or both — maybe Society finches tend to have liver problems in their old age. So I started putting milk thistle in the Finsters' water at night, and since then the chalky poops have pretty much disappeared, and Earl Grey has started singing again. Good news!
Next, I noticed that Frank has stopped singing, and he's even stopped peering at Earl Grey while he's
singing. Shocking! At first I worried that Earl Grey and Frank were both getting ready to die — they are the oldest finches in the Finsterium, after all. But then I decided Frank is probably just molting. He doesn't get as patchy and ragged looking
as he did when Sally was still alive to help preen his head (can he do that on purpose?!), but I've noticed a pin feather or two on his back. Hopefully, he'll be back to singing and peering again soon.