Our Bulbul bird Weka 

by Rahmah Al-Darkazli 

There is no more valuable and deep love than unconditional love. 

I grew up in an animal loving family who especially loves birds. During my childhood, we always raised bulbul birds. Bulbuls are one of the most important symbols of my country, Iraq, and they feed on the date palm trees. They are small, have a mixture of gray and black plumage, and their cheeks are white. They are very uncomfortable in a cage because they love freedom. We used to buy bulbul birds from the pet stores when they were just a few days old. We would buy them one at a time, every now and then, because some of them would get sick and some would fly away and never come back.  

In 2009 we bought a female bulbul. She was seven days old, and we named her Weka because every morning she stood by the door to our rooms and cried "Weeeek" loudly to wake us up. We were very attached to Weka, which was the smartest bird we’d had. She knew her name and always came when she heard us call her.  

One day, we called her a lot, but we didn’t receive any answer. We got worried and kept searching for her for a long time. Finally, we found her on the third floor, on our rooftop. The rooftop was completely open, but she did not fly away and just sat there, and as soon as we opened the door, she flew back in quickly. We did not want her to be confined to the house, but we knew that if she flew away and got hungry or thirsty, she would go to ask for food. We were worried someone might take her and put her in a cage.  

She behaved like a little kid, and we accepted her as a member of our family. She loved to eat, but not birdseed. Weka sat at the same table with us and, just like us, had her own plate. She ate the same meal we did, but sometimes it wasn't that easy. Spoiled Weka did not like leftover food, especially rice, which had to always be fresh. Whenever Weka saw us eating, she sat on one of our hands and shared the meal with us. She even tried to drink tea, but that experience never turned out the way she expected because she did not like the flavor.  

These kinds of birds love to be clean, so Weka used to take a bath in the sink every morning when she woke up. Although she did not like my father very much, she did not let anyone else but him give her a bath.  

We used to celebrate her birthday every year because she liked celebrations. We stayed together until she was four years old. We loved her very much and we were sure we were loved by her. 

In 2013, due to the insecurity of our country, we were compelled to seek asylum in Turkey. We had to go by land, so it was difficult to take Weka with us because the road was too long, and she wasn't used to the cage at all. The solution was to take her to Musul and entrust her to my grandmother. On the farewell day, we already longed for her, and she realized that we were going to split up with her. Although she never liked to be kissed, she allowed us all to kiss her that day. After we left, we video-called her on our phone often, and she never forgot us. My grandmother took very good care of her. Weka passed away at the age of seven years old. However, she has left us with beautiful memories full of love.