Pinky Joe, peach-faced lovebird

A big heart in a tiny body: our wonderful peach-faced lovebird.

Pinky Joe, peach-faced lovebird extraordinaire
Pinky Joe, peach-faced lovebird extraordinaire
Tao, tuxedo cat, mighty hunter
Tao, tuxedo cat, mighty hunter
The old crepe myrtle in the backyard
The old crepe myrtle in the backyard

This is a story about a peach-faced lovebird named Pinky Joe who I rescued from a tuxedo cat. Pinky Joe became a huge part of our family and brought much pleasure and was dearly loved.

Picture a warm, sunny Saturday afternoon in late spring in a little town in Texas; all the doors and windows are open and a soft breeze is flowing through the town. An old white house sits high on a sloping lot of immaculate St. Augustine grass; inside a woman in shorts and tee shirt is painting furniture.

Suddenly the peace of the neighborhood is fractured by a shrill cry for help. The woman runs out onto the gray painted wooden porch and looks this way and that, trying to determine the source.

She see movement across the street, under a parked car. She runs across the street and gets down on her hands and knees and peers under the car. There crouches her black and white cat, Tao, and she hears another cry, fainter this time. She lies on her back on the asphalt and drags the cat out and horror of horrors, there is something in its mouth.

Carrying the cat, she runs back across the street to her own yard and falls to her knees in the thick St. Augustine grass. The cat stares up at her with gorgeous emerald eyes. Protruding from each side of the cat's mouth, slowly beating, are two perfect pale green wings and a tiny body. The head is (gulp) in the cat's mouth. She attempts to pry the cat's mouth open and wonder of wonders, the cat allows this. She holds the cat with her left hand and cradles the tiny bird with her right hand. The cat, seeing its prize slipping away, makes a lunge for the bird.

The woman screams for her husband to come help her. He rushes out and gently cups the tiny bird in his hand. The bird sits there, enclosed in the man's hand except for its little head protruding between the thumb and forefinger.

The woman picks up the cat and runs into the house and shuts it up in the laundry room. Rummaging in her handbag, she pulls out a twenty and calls for her daughter to run to the five and dime store and buy a birdcage. (Nowadays the same birdcage would cost $80 and the five and dime stores are all gone.)

When the birdcage arrives, the man attempts to open his hand and release the bird into the cage, and -- this next part is difficult to describe -- the bird stretches out his little neck and, using the underside of his beak, gently pulls the man's thumb back and tucks the man's hand securely around itself, as if to say, "Hold me close; keep me safe; don't let go!"

They checked the weekly newspaper for a lost bird but no one came forward and no one in the neighborhood knew where he came from.

They named the little bird Pinky Joe and he lived with them for many years and brought a lot of love into their home.

Pinky Joe especially loved the woman of the house, and when the cat was outside and Pinky Joe was free to roam, he liked to sit on the woman's shoulder and gently nibble her left earlobe. When the humans tried to put him away in his cage, he would fly up high and hide. He always hid in the same place, on top of the ceiling fan blades in the dining room. He would sit there for a minute, and then, unable to stand the suspense, he would walk to the edge of the blade and peek over it at the pursuing humans.

Pinky Joe loved baths. He would stretch out his lovely wings and flutter them in the stream of water. He really appreciated his baths.

Pinky Joe was gentle and kind and funny all at once. He was quirky and formed endearing little habits. He stole their hearts and they remember him and miss him after 30 years.

One day while the woman was at work, she got a phone call from her husband and he was crying. Pinky Joe is dead, he sobbed. I came home and found him lying on the bottom of his cage.

They wrapped Pinky Joe in white muslin and buried him deep beneath a large old crepe myrtle in the back yard. They never forgot him and after all these years they still sometimes remind each other of his antics and share a laugh.

Read about another one of Tao's exploits here:

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Comments 9 comments

pwill profile image

pwill 5 years ago

I loved your story about Pinky Joe. I wonder what killed him? I once had a lovebird named "Herbie." He was killed by a cairn terrior I rescued.

Silva Hayes profile image

Silva Hayes 5 years ago from Spicewood, Texas Author

Not knowing Pinky Joe's history, I don't know how old he was. He seemed fine up until the day he died.

pwill profile image

pwill 5 years ago

It could have been anything. Maybe he was a she and was egg bound, or maybe chemicals unknowingly used in the house. Teflon will kill them, as will a wood fire. He could have eaten something, so many things.

He sounded like a precious companion to you. They have the prettiest sound, loud but pretty. lol

Chatkath profile image

Chatkath 5 years ago from California

What a wonderful story Silva, I love animals and it is so amazing that Pinky Joe lived! I guess things happen for a reason and why he was so special to you!

Silva Hayes profile image

Silva Hayes 5 years ago from Spicewood, Texas Author

Thanks, Chatkath. It was truly amazing that Pinky Joe lived after literally being in the jaws of death! He had a huge heart inside a tiny little body.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

Hi, this was a lovely story, the way you described it, I could see everything including the cat with the bird in his mouth! you saved the little thing for years, and how lovely the bit about pulling the thumb back to keep him safe! cheers nell

Silva Hayes profile image

Silva Hayes 5 years ago from Spicewood, Texas Author

Hi, Nell Rose. Thanks for visiting. Oh, I will never forget little Pinky Joe gently reaching out and tucking Bill's thumb and finger back around himself. It was truly amazing and touching.

Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas

What a mysterious little bird and such a precious little guy too. He would steal anyone's heart. He apparently imprinted on you like a baby duck when you saved him from the cat. I know I would have! LOL! Thanks for sharing. WB

Silva Hayes profile image

Silva Hayes 5 years ago from Spicewood, Texas Author

Aww I think you're right, Wayne, I think he did imprint on me. Thanks for stopping by.

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    Silva Hayes profile image

    Silva Hayes344 Followers
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    Silva has a background as a technical writer and in addition to how-to articles she writes about cooking, travel, and personal experiences.

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