The Story of Piro

As I related in my last posting, love birds were not high on my list of favorite hookbills after my first encounter with them.  Then, when someone told me that having just one love bird made the difference, I decided they were just too cute to keep passing up.

I joined North County Aviculturists, along with my husband and two children.  I knew Mike loved birds, too, but hoped Alain and Alexia would learn to love them as well.  We attended most meetings, and participated in the opportunity drawings.  I remembered my mother writing my name on drawing tickets, for luck. so I wrote the kids’ names on some of the tickets.  At one meeting, Alexia’s name was called, and she really, really wanted a little pied green peach face love bird. The breeder was someone known for her knowledge of lovies, and her skill in telling the sexes.  She told us the bird was male, three months old.  Alexia named him Piro, after the main character in MegaTokyo, a web comic the whole family enjoyed.

Piro lived in a cage in Alexia’s room, but due to school and week night activities, Piro didn’t get handled much during the week, and by the weekend he had forgotten that he was hand fed and liked people.  Alexia complained that he wasn’t really tame at all.  If she let him out of the cage, he flew up to the rails on her canopy bed.

Before long, Piro came out to the living room with other birds we were taking in.  I knew he needed a companion, and I decided to try to breed love birds.  Without doing any research first, I went to a bird mart and purchased a female, a beautiful pale blue bird with a gray head.  Prio like her a lot, and she was dubbed Seraphim, after another character from MegaTokyo.

After a while I did the research I should have done before making any purchases with breeding as a goal.  I discovered that Piro and Sera were different species of love birds, and should not be bred.  Their offspring would probably be “mules,” unable to reproduce.

Thus began a long time of looking for more love birds.  I volunteered to run a bird mart for NCA, and had a contact from a woman who wanted to rehome her breeding pair of peach face love birds and all 6 of their offspring.  I took the birds in and looked them over.  All were untame.  Dad was called Benny, none of the others had names.  I set up all but one of the offspring as opportunity drawing prizes at the bird mart, kept Bennie, and his mate and one of the offspring who was a beautiful cherry-headed lutino (yellow mutation) peach face love bird.

It took some time to get Piro to stop thinking about Sera as his mate and accept Nanasawa (MegaTokyo) in her place.  A whole week.  They got a nest box and went to work.  Piro and Nana gave me many clutches of beautiful lovies, but I was not able to hand feed at the time, so they went as breeders for the most part.  I am impressed with how much Piro stays involved in raising his offspring.  He is a great daddy.

Unfortunately, Nana became egg bound and died before I realized the problem.  In spite of cuttle bone available at all times, and calcium in soft foods once a week, I lost her.

I asked a friend and fellow love bird breeder if she had any peach face hens for sale.  She told me about Kiya, a cherry-headed lutino female who had beaten up her mate.  The male had been much younger than she was, so my friend felt Kiya belonged with an experienced male.  I took her in and introduced her to Piro.  I almost think Piro thought she was Nana come back to life.

This time when I bred them, my friend hand fed the babies, and they went as sweet, loving pets to good homes.  But a few seasons later, history repeated itself.  I was checking the cages one morning, not during breeding season so no boxes were in the cages.  As I do most mornings, I was saying hello to all the birds.  And there was Piro, sitting sadly by the lifeless body of little Kiya.

Some time after that, I received a huge flock of love birds, all peach face, all hand fed, but not socialized enough.  I mentioned last week that I kept two of these birds and sold off the rest.  Prio bonded with Lorry, who turned out to be male.

I also explained putting three love birds in the same cage with a nest box, something most breeders would tell you does not work. At this time, Aura and Piro and Lorry have four eggs in the nest.  Who’s the daddy?  Only Aura knows for sure, and she hasn’t told me.  Stay tuned!

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