My wife, the Beautiful AP and I have two parrots. Our oldest is a Quaker Parrot, Augustus, about 25 (give or take), and our youngest Mr. Squeaky, a Green-Cheeked Conure, is about 10 years old. We’ve had Squeaky for seven years. He’s a rescue.
Mr. Squeaky, named by his original owners, took about three years to get the hang of living with us. He didn’t like stepping up on our fingers; instead, he preferred to jump onto our arms. You also couldn’t hug and kiss him as you could with Augustus, a feathered sponge, lapping up affection by the gallon. It took years for my wife to teach him to give individual kisses without drawing blood.
I just chat with them since they reside in my office where I spend most of my day. I think of them as my “little birds Fauntleroy.” They have the good life for sure— Gourmet-level food, open cages, ahum, Daddy as company, while Mommy works outside the home.
We’re one big happy flock.
Augustus is madly in love with the Beautiful AP. Mr. Squeaky is in love with me. But Mr. Squeaky is even more in love with Augustus.
From Mr. Squeaky’s first day with us, he had his eyes on Augustus. He’d sidle over to Augustus and perch next to him. Augustus ignored him. Augustus was secure in his place as the Alpha Bird…the Alpha Being, so this young bird was nothing to him.
Through days, weeks, and months—two years to be exact—Squeaky would actively court Augustus. Augustus was unmoved.
When the Beautiful AP would feed the birds in the morning, Squeaky would go into Augustus’s cage and gobble his food—but Augustus retaliated by simply waltzing into Mr. Squeaky’s cage to polish off Mr. Squeaky’s food. The food is exactly the same.
The only thing Mr. Squeaky did that did not require any attention from anyone was to have sex with everything in and around him: his cage, top, left, right, bottom; his food dish; Augustus’s food dish; the perches, the handles to the cages and his various toys and bells. A horny young fella, he had sex through the day and night.
Then Mr. Squeaky finally caught Augustus’ attention and Augustus realized that he could spend his days being groomed by this new servant. No reciprocation necessary. Augustus learned to simply bend his head to signal Mr. Squeaky to start grooming. Augustus sparkled more and more each day.
Now these two guys rub against each other, kiss (yes, full beak kisses!) and stay close all day long. Except, that is, when Mr. Squeaky goes off to have sex with some inanimate object—or when they fly onto my head to bask in my bushy birds’-nest Covid-19 hair.
And so, there they are, our two beloved gay birds.
This morning the Beautiful AP said to me. “I have a big surprise for you. It’s in the refrigerator.”
“A chocolate-pudding pie?” I asked.
“Guess again,” she said.
“Is it something to eat?”
She thought a second, “Technically yes, but probably not.”
I laughed. “Augustus laid an egg?”
“Not Augustus,” she said.
“You’ve got to be kidding me!”
She opened the refrigerator. A shot glass held a little white egg with a sign above it “OMG!”
“Mr. Squeaky is a girl,” we said simultaneously. At the age of 10, he, meaning she, laid her first egg.
Now, everything makes sense. The sex we thought Mr. Squeaky was having was not that of a male fertilizing an egg, it was of a female receiving fertilization! The hours of grooming Augustus is probably a wifely duty.
All these years, Mr. Squeaky knew she was a girl. We were the ones who saw him as male…and still think of him as male, despite the evidence before our eyes. Perhaps in the future, we’ll adjust to the news and call him, or rather, her… Ms. Squeaky.