I’ve known Oboe since he was a freshly laid egg. He was the third of four eggs in Billie and Lester’s first clutch. We had a webcam on the nest, so everything was broadcast over the internet, from the laying of his egg to its hatching, all the way up through hand-feeding and his first flight. (You can view the archives here and here.)
People often ask me if it’s okay to keep a single lovebird by itself. It is, if you provide it with plenty of daily attention and interaction. Lovebirds need relationships. They need to love and be loved. But they don’t necessarily need to love and be loved by other lovebirds.
Oboe has a relationship with everybody in this house: the people, the other birds, the dog, and (ahem) the cat.
He loves GC and me so much he does his mating dance and attempts to regurgitate for us (there is no greater gift in a lovebird’s world than the gift of regurgitated food).
We’ve come close to losing Oboe a couple of times. Twice he’s gone AWOL outside, and twice he’s returned home. And then there was the time Duncan caught him. I’ll never forget the awful sound of all his air sacs popping, and seeing him struggle to breathe. His wing looked like it was broken, too. I was pretty sure he was going to die that evening.
All things considered, he’s a pretty lucky lovebird to have made it to his second birthday. The close calls have made me realize how much I love him.
What I love most about Oboe is his exuberance. He’s got a big bird personality in a compact little-bird package. He loves life. He puffs out his little chest and flies right into the action. If people come to visit, he studies them for a few minutes and then he moves in for a closer look, and next thing you know he’s sitting on their head and hanging upside down from their hair so he can look into their eyes.
I also like how smart he is. If he was a person he’d be an engineer. He’s busy, curious, and always thinking about how to get what he wants. He’s the most persistent little guy in the world.
Even though Kazoo, the Amazon parrot, wants nothing to do with him, Oboe insists upon having a relationship with her. He follows her around, plays alongside her, is her sidekick in all home-wrecking activities, and is her number one fan. He knows exactly how close he can get before she’ll try to peck him, and he never, ever stops pushing that limit. As a result, she now tolerates him hanging out about six inches from her, compared to 12 inches a year and a half ago.
Anyway. I love that little bird. For his birthday I gave him an extra pistachio nut.
Here’s my favourite video of Oboe: