30 Years With A Parrot!

                                                                               “PEDRO”

Unbelievable you say! It’s true, Pedro is 30 years old and we got him as a baby. He’s still going strong.  You could call our time with Pedro a love/ hate relationship. (mostly love). And some of the time we wonder who is running this household, us or Pedro?

I open the refrigerator and he says “cracker?” We talk about going somewhere and he says, “want to go bye-bye?” I’m on my way out, and coming from his cage: “you look beautiful.” ( Isn’t  he sweet?)  As we go out the door he calls, “Adios Amigo.” If breakfast is ready and Burl hasn’t come into the kitchen, at my direction he calls “Burl.”  After several sweet sounding calls and some not so sweet, if Burl hasn’t arrived, he screams. (he only screams when it’s necessary!) If screaming doesn’t work, he uses a very demanding whistle.

He looks forward to a fresh, new cardboard box  to be put in his cage. He talks to it and calls it “beautiful,” and to express his thankfulness to Burl he says, “that’s a good bird.” He proceeds to make a round hole in one corner and crawls inside where he holds a, soft, one sided conversation. “How are you?” “Wanna a kiss?” “You’re  beautiful.” That’s when we feel sorry for him, until the next scream that is, or until he decides to get into one of our heated discussions and becomes so loud that we can’t hear ourselves and the whole episode ends in laughter, and can he laugh! It’s only when he’s frustrated that he screams. Who, being in a cage for thirty years wouldn’t do the same. Occasionally, Burl will give him a pep talk on how fortunate he is to be living where he is safe from angry farmers  who shoot parrots in Honduras, his birth place. Of  all  things, our son-in-law, Matt Broscious, taught him to say, “Help let me out.”

We don’t know how but explaining things to him helps, especially when it’s time to cut his toenails. You can’t be in a hurry, it takes lots of coaxing and sweet talk and even then, I oftentimes get bit (ouch).  His cage is next to the table in the eating room, right where he can coax for the food he wants. Although his share of scrambled eggs are not eaten yet, he asks for more before Burl eats them all. He knows exactly the number of foods being served and is not content until he has some of each dish.

We didn’t realize that Burl whistles after lunch, until we noticed that it had become a game with Pedro who tries to whistle first. He is just as good at making up tunes as Burl is. “Want a bath?” He knows immediately what I”m saying and that I’ll go for the spray bottle. There’s another spray bottle that’s reserved for the big “D”, discipline! When he is driving us crazy with his shenanigans, after several warnings, he gets a fine, shot of water through the cage bars right into his snoot. He then says, “Poor Baby,” and cries like one.

Mornings Pedro greets us with “Good Morning, How are you?” It’s no wonder that he believes he is in charge here, after all, we leave him most days to run the place by himself. When we return we’re greeted with a cheery “Hello Burl,” “Hi Shirley.” Remember he has no lips, but somehow he gets out something that resembles the “S” in Shirl.

We never know when he will burst forth with a rendition of “Yankee Doodle” or “Amazing Grace.” We’re convinced that Pedro is very smart. What do other parrot owners think about this? There’s a bumper sticker that reads, “My parrot is smarter than your honor student,” go figure!

I could go on about Pedro, but I’m way over the word count I try to keep “Shirl and You” at.  We’ve tried to live an ordinary life, up bright and early, off to work, back for dinner, then to bed. but it’s been far from ordinary, living with a parrot!

13 thoughts on “30 Years With A Parrot!

  1. Great post! Pedro really is quite a wonderful pet, isn’t he? It is amazing just how much he knows. And you gotta admit, it’s pretty funny when he’s sitting in his cage and says, “Help! Let me out!” Lol. Pedro definitely leaves an impression!

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  2. Wow, I didn’t realize that you have had Pedro for 30 years. Most amazons live to be 50 or more years old, in captivity. Of course, this depends on the bird’s health, etc. I have had my amazon for 7 years. My conure is 13 years old, my african gray is 9 and my solomon island eclectus is 4. Your Pedro sounds allot like my Pedro. I do think that there are many similarities in parrots of the same species; and I do notice very distinct differences between the different birds that I have. I remember much of the things that your Pedro does and says; and I certainly remember taking care of him a couple of times, while you and Burl were away on vacation. Have you ever considered getting another parrot for companionship for Pedro? I think that my birds are happier and more content when left alone because they have each other to talk to and keep company with. No other pet can compare to a parrot…..it is funny how they seem to run the household. Indeed, we don’t own them…..they own us. LOL Parrots are very smart; and they certainly do learn how to control their environment and get what they want!!! How can you ,when your bird says “I want some food…..please!” I have never used a spray bottle as a way of disciplining my birds. This is something that would never work with them, as they all love to take a shower. If I ever did this, they would undoubtedly get even noiser….wanting me to come and spray them….and making a game out of it. LOL My birds don’t get noisy very often; and when one gets out of hand, it is usually my african gray, Rocket. (He can immitate the fire alarm in our house!) Thank you for sharing your thoughts and story about Pedro. Pet birds can certainly have a big impact on our lives. One day I should sit down and write a book on what I went through with my Solomon Island eclectus, Susan. I have had several professional parrot people tell me that I “need” to do this because my story and knowlege will benefit others; (and it already has). It is partly because of your sweet Pedro that I got interested in pet birds; and now they are a big part of my life. I did not realize that birds were so incredible, until I met Pedro. Parrots are one of God’s most amazing creatures!!!!! Thank you for sharing your story.

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    • Thanks for your comments, Colleen. You certainly have a love for your three parrots. I have a feeling that when your son leaves home he’ll have one, too. The bottles we use for bath or discipline are different and our attitudes when using them are different also. So Pedro has no problem knowing the difference. They are, indeed, such fun and a challenge.

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  3. I have four parrots in my flock; and they all seem to favor me over anyone else. Maybe it is because I am their main care giver? Do you find that Pedro favors one of you, over the other? My husband feeds the birds, too, but they still favor me. My African Gray, Rocket, goes out of his way to try and bite my husband whenver he can find an opportune moment.I think that he views my husband as the “third wheel”.Pedro and Rocket are actually what I would consider to be a bonded pair of birds and they love to play together. However, they are housed separately, because Pedro is so much larger. My son really likes our African Gray best, but he is not leaving with Dominick when he graduates from college. LOL Buddy is Dominick’s parrot and so is Pedro. I would have a hard time giving up any of them. They are each unique; and they certainly add joy to my life.

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  4. I remember Barb Martin, a few children from the church and I visiting you shortly after you got Pedro. Doesn’t seem like it’s been that long ago. And I remember you and Burl would give updates, on how he was doing, during the morning Bible Quiz on WRGN. Thank you for bring back that lovely memory.

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  5. Has it really been 30 years? Hard to believe it has been THAT long! I can remember being at the house one day and he was on my arm. I don’t know if I did something or if he just decided my nose needed a tweak or what. At any rate, he reached over and lightly tweaked my nose with his beak,LOL! He didn’t do it hard enough to hurt, just enough for me to feel it! I remember him saying,”Look at the pretty wings!” and “Adios, Amigo!” He was and still is such a beautiful parrot. Thanks for the memories!

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    • You remember Pedro well, Debbie, even to some of the phrases he uses. I’m glad he just tweaked your nose. I miss those earlier years, however it sounds like you are very busy and that’s good. A little slower here, but not by much. I do have time to pursue some writing on Shirl and you and that’s fun. By the way, hope you signed in as a follower.

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      • Yes, I did and yes, I am! I am getting to pursue my lifelong dream of studying Music and while it is crazy busy, I love it! My only regret is that it didn’t happen sooner. =) I am in the middle of finishing my 3rd semester and getting ready for my first big paying performance: A Christmas Carol! I’m enjoying the blog and glad you’re having fun with it.

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  6. Shirley, I really enjoyed reading this story. Once again, you make your life sound so fun and real. Your parrot sounds like a real “character”. A friend of mine had one that could laugh and it “cracked me up” every time I went to her house….and another friend has one that says “pretty bird” etc…I too think they are amazing. Thanks again for sharing your life with us 🙂

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