A few days ago, I heard the sweetest bird tweet. I was walking under the palo brea in our front yard. It startled me because most of the bird sounds around the house are anything but melodic.
For weeks now, angry mockingbirds shoot out from that same tree and dive-bomb my cat, Ares. They make a war-like sucking sound, a warning. And then squawk as they swoop down. Even gods of war, like Ares, take cover. I believe the mockers are trying to protect their nests and trust they are not psychotic.
Then there are also the grumpy clucks of blackbirds and starlings and the loud cries of the Gila woodpecker as it sails in to steal juice from the hummingbird feeder or to drill holes in the oranges. That’s not to mention the monotonous whoos emitted by our messy pigeon family.
No, this was different.
The startling sweet sound of course forced me to search the tree for the voice was not only friendly but seemed to invite a conversation. So I did the best I could to talk to it. I whistled. Wheet, wheet, wheet.
And, when it seemed to answer back, I saw it on a limb. A beautiful orange face and the rest of it covered in green and blue feathers. Ah, the peach-faced lovebird, a small parrot, once domesticated and now feral. Families of these lovebirds thrive all over Phoenix. Several groups can be found in our neighborhood in the central part of the city. There is even a website devoted to the location of these birds.
I held out an index finger like I used to do with my parakeet, hoping it would perch there. It did not. Perhaps the lovebird thought I was as addled as can be, a feeling no doubt shared by a curious neighbor. I do not care. I will keep trying.
I love these cheerful, monogamous birds, so innocent. I want them to feel at home in my tree. They make me feel happy and lighten my day.