I took a trip to a large pet store chain yesterday, needing a myriad of supplies for my own furred and feathered pack.
While grabbing supplies in the bird aisle, a group of store employees gathered around a large cage with two peach faced lovebirds inside. “They are so bonded,” one said. “I wonder what will happen when one of them is bought,” he added, not a hint of remorse in his voice. I gathered from the conversation that these two were deeply attached and affectionate towards one another.
Another employee chimed in……”I’m not sticking my finger in there, that one bites.” Another worker added, “I wouldn’t want to buy two birds and have them bond together and not to me.”
And I listened as one did indeed charge to the end of the glass, in protection of her beloved sibling.
I felt so bad for this pair. I have kept birds for decades. I have always tried to keep my birds in pairs, unless of course fights occurred. Once, after many years, a fight did occur and a mate succumbed…..a mate who had repeatedly thwarted the affection of the other. Rejection can sometimes mean attack …….. these intelligent creatures have feelings and emotions that can range from jealousy and rage to deepest love.
Now, few of my birds linger. I have a devoted mated pair that have been together for almost two decades. When one leaves, I am sure the other will follow soon after.
I hoped for a miracle for these two. That a young person, because parrots live a long life, affluent enough to purchase and care for them properly, would bring both home. That miracle is not likely to materialize; one will be bought, most likely, the gentler of the two. The one who was in need of protection from her loving caretaker. The caretaker’s gruff exterior will hide a crying heart, watching hands swoop down and take her friend. I wish I were that young person……but years and wisdom have made my eyes see through that gilded glass with more reality now. I would bring both home to be happy and together. Their captive lives should not be isolated from another of their kind, just so they can bond more closely to us. Canaries sing in cages not from happiness, but calling out for a mate. They sing for us, their mates, when kept alone. We love their voices; they pay a price of loneliness to fill the air with beautiful song.
I walked by the lovebird cage as one lovingly preened her companion; my own heart a little heavier.
Those lovebirds still haunt me today……..what price will each of them pay to be kept in a gilded cage.