I never met Margrethe Warden in person, but rather through a Pionus Parrot email group – listserv type of thing: yeah, way back before Facebook and Twitter. It was the mid to late ’90s and I was just getting my feet wet with bird companionship. I had a red bellied parrot named Quark and found that he was becoming aggressive and bitey. I was looking to find a species of parrot that was hopefully less prone to being aggressive. That’s how I found the Pionus Parrot group, and Margrethe.
Margrethe was a true aviculturist, knowing so much about almost all parrots, but especially Lory species and Pionus. I still have many of those ‘old emails’ from way back when, and I looked through many last night, remembering and rejoicing in the banter Margrethe and others shared about birds, life, politics, etc. She was a strong-minded but always warmhearted person who was not shy about sharing her opinion or perspective on any range of topics. At the heart of any and all of her words was love, dedication to birds and nature, and an unbridled commitment to social justice. Margrethe walked her walk and talked her talk; she was real, she was true to friends and connections, and she has had a lasting, significant impact on a great many people around the globe.
I was heartbroken to learn of Margrethe’s sudden passing, I still can’t believe she’s gone, I just can’t. A kind, quick-witted, funny lady who welcomed me to the world of birds, specifically Pionus, all those years ago. God it’s truly unbelievable that she’s gone from this world. My sincerest and heartfelt condolences to Margrethe’s family, I cannot imagine your pain and grief with her sudden passing.
Lying awake last night I realized that it was through Margrethe and that little band of Pi lovers that my circle of friends has expanded beyond Pionus, and extended around the world. I honestly didn’t realize the impact Margrethe has had on me. If it wasn’t for her I likely wouldn’t have sought out and found Guga, my first Pionus, a White Capped. Margrethe talked me through weaning Guga and just what to expect with a Pi.
Somewhere between the listserv and the launch of social media, our little listserv got less and less interactive, but not for Margrethe, she kept responding to emails and birdie questions. When she opened her Facebook account, it was just like the listserv, but a smoother interactive format. Margrethe’s bigger-then-life personality came through so wonderfully – sarcasm, humour, wisdom and reflection.
As if on cue, this pic turned up on my FB Profile yesterday and I just had to share and dedicate to Margrethe. Saying, “Hee hee, this is for Margrethe Warden and her precious, annoying Winston 😂😪” , it was in response to few years back when Margrethe was embroiled in a battle with a woodpecker named Winston. Winston persisted in knocking on her bedroom window early in the morning. She cursed Winston, while at the same time loving him I’m certain. My apologies for the language, but it’s what Margrethe would have thought, likely said to Winston all those times, and ‘Loved’ when I originally posted on FB about a year ago.
Margrethe, I’ll miss your pithy sarcasm, your love of baseball, and your bottomless, endless love and commitment to birds, the natural world, and to humanity. I am so shocked, so saddened to know you are no longer in this world. Rest in Peace Margrethe, you made a tremendous impact on many. I’m honoured to have connected with and known you for all these years.
With a heavy heart and teary eyes, I posted on Twitter last night the following: Goodnight everybirdie, sleep well. Say a prayer that those you hold most close to your heart are there beside you tomorrow as you awake to a bright new day. Today I was reminded of how fleeting life is. Fifteen + years ago Margrethe Warden entered my life, last night she left this earth much too soon. Rest in peace M, I miss you.
Farewell dear Margrethe.