San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

The Unlikely Love Story of Chirpie And the Chihuahua

To make a long story short, one day Popocatepetl, our 1-year old Chihuahua – whom we call Popo – found a little bird while walking with us in the garden.

We looked for the nest, but couldn’t find it, so I took the poor hatchling into the house for refuge. The next day I found the nest and returned the baby to its mother and siblings.

Dennis, my husband, knowing I would be worried about the little birds, leaned a tall ladder against the tree for my frequent inspections.

When Dennis went up to see the little ones for his own edification, he realized that instead of two babies, as I had thought, there were three. And one was hanging precariously out of the small nest.

We nudged him back into the nest a couple of times but were afraid that next time he would fall to the ground, and a cat would get hold of him. So, one day, we ended up bringing him back into the house.

His name: Chirpie. Almost instantly Popo became his best friend. Whenever Chirpie is done eating, Popo licks him clean. At other times, Popo comes over just for fun and gives Chirpie a lick, which we, of course, equate with kisses.

The “Chirper” loves his raisins, papaya, mango and bananas, but he is especially happy eating a mixture of ground turkey, pulverized dog food pellets, milk and even spaghetti, which incidentally Popo now really likes a lot too. So, they eat together.

We cannot believe the amount of feathers the little guy has grown in 15 days! He now preens a lot and extends his wings. He has also started to fly around the house.

We know he will soon be taking off. But we believe that somehow we will always be able to find Popo and Chirpie eating out of the same dish on our patio.

For sure, we are feeding Chirpie well to grow strong and live a beautiful life in the wilds of Costa Rica. And if Chirpie end up being a she, we might even find her nesting right here in these gardens.

In this hectic, sometimes cruel and violent world, this simple, easy friendship is uplifting. These days have been of contemplation and peace in our hearts.

Two more details: We learned how to take care of a baby birds on the Internet, which also helped us identify our fledgling: Chirpie happens to be a clay-colored robin, the famous yigüirro that is the national bird of Costa Rica.


— Cecilia Aird

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