Oboe used to have a girlfriend. Her name was Oboe’s Girlfriend. We got her in a bundle of used bird toys from someone on Kijiji. She didn’t look all that special to me, but Oboe fell head-over-heels in love with her. She was lovely and soft and she had a sweet little bell-like voice, and a rubber head with holes in it.
This might sound a little unappealing to some, but Oboe would regurgitate his breakfast into the holes in her head, and then mount her and make her bell ring.
In the language of birds, regurgitating your food for the object of your desire is a pledge of love and commitment. It says I love you and I will take care of you and provide for you, and when we have babies I will provide for them too. It makes sense when you really think about it. In an economy without possessions, sharing your food means a lot.When Oboe was sick in the hospital last January, I took Oboe’s Girlfriend to the hospital to comfort him. She lay on the floor of his hospital cage and he huddled up against her and just sat like that for days. Even after he got home, he spent all his time with her until he was better. I knew he was going to be okay when he started regurgitating for her and mounting her and making her bell ring again.
Oboe loved that girlfriend every single day until she literally fell apart. I found her on the floor of his house one day, just a pile of soft fluffy strings, a bell, and a rubber ball.
Oboe was devastated.
Actually, I probably just imagined that under similar circumstances, I would have been devastated, and then projected it onto him. Either way, Oboe’s Girlfriend had died, and I made it my mission to find him a new girlfriend. I searched every pet store in Ottawa, and every online bird toy store in North America, but could not find one.
Finally I contacted Crystal of Crystal’s Bird Toys here in Ottawa. She understands how birds think and feel, so she constructs really good bird toys. Simon loves her stuff. I asked her if she could make Oboe a new girlfriend. I sent her pictures and she started hunting down parts. The biggest challenge was finding the rubber ball with holes in it, but she did it. She said it was her first girlfriend.I brought Oboe’s New Girlfriend home on Saturday. As soon as I jiggled the paper bag, he responded to the sound of her bell. When I took her out of the bag, it was love at first sight. Usually birds need to look at a toy for awhile before they’ll trust it enough to touch it, but Oboe was on her before I’d even finished hanging her up.
I haven’t seen him regurgitating for her yet, and I haven’t heard her bell ring, but I feel confident they’re in the early stages of courtship.