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A bird with lotsa love

John King
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 07/05) - To Michel Thibodeau, those who say a dog is man's best friend don't know what it's like to befriend an African love bird.

NNSL Photo/graphic

Michel Thibodeau bought his new best friend, Philip the love bird, at JJ Hobbies in the early summer. Thibodeau carries the small bird around town with him wherever he goes. - John King/NNSL photo

Wherever he goes, Thibodeau carries his little friend Philip. That is, until the winter sets in.

Thibodeau says he'll take Philip out sometimes in the winter, but that the bird will stay inside most of the time.

"Love birds always go in pairs, you can't separate them, but after Philip was separated from his partner, I became sentimental and brought the bird home with me," Thibodeau says.

"We tried to keep them together, but love birds can be loud and territorial when they start having kids," says Wendy Eggenberger at JJ Hobbies. "You couldn't even put your hand near their cage because they were so protective."

"He's not territorial around me," Thibodeau says. "Philip likes to be in my shirt, so that's his territory I guess."

Thibodeau says he lets Philip walk around when he and his wife go on picnics.

"Philip is very curious," Thibodeau says.

"He likes to explore on his own."

Thibodeau feeds his friend bird food such as dry fruit, but Thibodeau says Philip is not keen on this - he prefers human food.

"Philip likes ice cream, especially anything that is sweet, like caramel or anything mint flavoured, Thibodeau says.

"I will put ice cream on a tablespoon and he stands there and licks it up," Thibodeau says.

When he is really hungry or wants out of his cage, Philip sounds like a whistle a referee will blow at a hockey game, says Thibodeau.

"It is strong and short, especially when he wants out of his cage." Maybe to cruise downtown with his human buddy.