The Wife was semi-joking when she said we needed to get a kitten to save the birds ... today that unfortunately played out.
We don't know exactly what happened, but "Sunny", our green parakeet was just fine this morning and was dead by mid-afternoon. We strongly suspect that the 3-year-old (aka Daughter #2) grabbed Sunny in the cage. The birds have been having WAY too much "human contact" since Nikki (our cat) died ... as both girls have been trying to interact with them. The white/blue one ("Tookie") was a bit acclimated to me (as she was the first bird in the house) and is willing to sit on your finger and hop between it and the swing, etc. ... Sunny was always too skittish to play those games.
Daughter #2 was never too gentle with Nikki either, and what probably happened was that she wanted to get Sunny and grabbed her, but used too much force and crushed her ribcage. We saw the bird sort of flopping on the bottom of the cage, and at first thought she had a broken foot, but a half hour later she was dead. I could feel the keel bone, but not much else in the chest.
I wish we could somehow effectively convey to Dauther #2 that she CAN NOT abuse the animals like this, but she is a little hellion and wantonly ignores all our instruction (hell, she lunged at her big sister with a knife the other day!). I'm afraid that Tookie will expire if we don't get another bird (as she's used to the company, and I guess parakeets get depressed to death in situations like that), but I really hate to expose another critter to our 3-year-old. I guess I could get some little luggage locks to put on the cage so that Daughter #2 CAN'T get in, but that seems awfully extreme.
It's bad enough when Daughter #1 ignores our rules about the birds and plays with them (she is, at least, careful and gentle with them), but #2 is just impossible. Needless to say, we're feeling like big sacks of shit as parents, and even worse as "pet parents".