Chika Chika and Boom Boom
My girlfriend is a big softy when it comes to animals that need a home. Over the years she has taken in all sorts of critters from tiny individual parakeets to most recently a lilac crowned amazon. Adopting these birds has been very educational for us both. The level of intellect of even the smallest tropical bird species is pretty amazing.
Chika Chika and Boom Boom were an inseperable pair of Peach face love birds. Chika Chika was the dominant one, always bossing the other around and making demands. My favorite habit of these tiny companions was their desire to dress up. They literally cut paper down to strips, the more colorful the paper the better, and then pranced about in a veritable display of their creativity after having placed the strips in among their tailfeathers.
The first time I saw this I was enchanted. Small as they were they displayed some of the same traits and desires as human beings, albiet childlike humans that will bite you if you invade their space too suddenly.
One day something very peculiar began to occur. Boom Boom wasn't coming out of his paper tunnels to join his companion at the food dish. Something was very wrong. We opened up the cage and watched as Chika encouraged Boom Boom to come out and drink some water. Boom Boom was clearly weak and ill.
Not sure about the life expectancy of these birds we assumed perhaps it was the end if his lifespan and this was to be expected. Then we found out that when one love bird dies the other often follows soon after. They are inseperable creatures who rely upon one another's companionship throughout their entire lifetime and never truly mate again.
The next day Boom Boom died and Chika Chika fell into instant depression. It was heartwrenching. Where as usually these birds are loud and vocal suddenly there was nothing. Boom Boom was gone and Chika didn't have the heart to go on.
Speaking with bird vets over the phone my girlfriend was told there was little hope of Chika Chika lasting very long. Jeannie decided she was not just going to accept that. She decided then and there that if Chika was lonely then he just needed another friend.
Enter Buzz Buzz.
Buzz Buzz is a gentle white feathered Cockatiel. He is yet another bird who needed a new home and Jeannie had taken him in not long before Boom Boom passed away. Recognizing Chika Chika's need for company she placed both their cages directly next to one another so they might get acquainted.
More than two years later Chika and Buzz are inseparable companions. Two separate cages, two distinctly different species but one solid friendship. How did we know for sure it had worked? When taking Buzz out of the cage and away from Chika Chika we were barraged with a plethora of vocal calls we had not heard since Boom Boom still lived. Chika decidedly did not want his new companion to be taken away. They were good friends now and they had a bond.
When left alone the two of them sit on their perches as close as they can get to one another and often call back and forth gently and even sometimes dance back and forth in exuberant displays of joy and satisfaction. There is little more rewarding seeing adopted animals that are trained to accept a single handler/owner come to accept new owners and other animals as their new family and companions. There is an important lesson in that for all of us I think.
Love birds may not need to pass away simply because their lifemate has gone from their side. Simple companionship can be replaced as long as another similarly lonely species is willing to cooperate. Take heart Love bird owners and find a new friend for your beloved pet. He or she still has plenty of years to give you.
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