PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It’s a story of love lost – and found again.

It starts with Skippy, a black-necked stilt from Mexico.

“Mr. and Mrs. Skippy were actually an extraordinary couple,” National Aviary Veterinarian Dr. Pilar Fish said. “They did everything together.”

But Skippy’s mate became ill and died.

“Skippy cried – he mourned so much that he cried,” Dr. Fish said. “He stopped eating, he stopped grooming himself and he became incredibly weak because he was mourning so much.”

Dr. Fish brought the now 23-year-old bird to the Aviary hospital. That’s when he saw a picture on the wall.

“We haven’t really thought about the mural because it was there for several years, but Skippy saw the portrait of Mrs. Skippy on the bottom of the mural and he started talking to her and sat right next to her,” she said.

It was love at first chirp. An enclosure was built so he’d never have to leave her side. He began to eat and groom himself. His condition improved and his broken heart began to heal.

“Every single night he sleeps next to the portrait of Mrs. Skippy,” Dr. Fish said.

Skippy will emerge from his pen to greet National Aviary visitors on Valentine’s Day.

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