Not too many other animals besides humans can talk, which leads to a very special affinity between people and parrots…and all those other clever, crafty, chatty tropical birds. Here are some recent news stories about some parrots that got themselves (and people) into trouble.
Parrot Busts Drunk Driver
While driving home from a Mexico City bar one evening in 2014, Guillermo Reyes was stopped by police on suspicion of driving under the influence. Before they could administer any sobriety tests, the officers received some information that suggested Reyes was, in fact, intoxicated: a tiny voice repeating the words, “He’s drunk! He’s drunk!” The source of that voice: Reyes’ parrot, who’d apparently heard that phrase enough times that he learned how to say it and what it meant. Reyes subsequently failed a Breathalyzer test.
Parrot Exposes Cheating Husband
Frank and Petra Ficker of Freiburg, Germany, split up after years of marriage in 2005. The main reason: Petra learned that Frank had been unfaithful. And she learned that via a hot tip from their pet parrot, Hugo. The bird didn’t only talk, but he could apparently also perfectly mimic Frank Ficker’s speech patterns. Petra says that one day she heard Hugo calling out the name “Uta” in Frank’s voice. Looking for evidence, she then found tickets for a weekend getaway to Paris, booked for Frank and a woman named Uta. Petra kicked Frank out of the house…and kept Hugo.
Parrot Saves Family From Fire
Late one night in 2007, the Conwell family of Muncie, Indiana, was awakened by the telltale but frightening sound of a beeping smoke detector. Indeed, the family home was on fire, and the loud noises woke up Shannon Conwell, and his nine-year-old son. They safely escaped the home and called authorities, but not before grabbing their parrot, Peanut. Also, the smoke detector hadn’t been loud enough to awake the two — it was Peanut, imitating the beeping smoke detector, that woke up them…and saved their lives.
Parrot Procures Precious Produce
Millions of homes have a “smart speaker,” such as an Amazon Echo, powered by the voice-activated Alexa software. Users can say things like, “Alexa, order toilet paper,” which triggers their Amazon account into action. A woman in the U.K. named Marion Wichnewski adopted an African grey parrot named Rocco. That bird mimicked Wichnewski giving her Echo orders, and got in on the act. Wichnewski discovered that Rocco had tried to use voice command to order foods he liked, including strawberries, broccoli, raisins, and watermelon. (She at least had her account set up to get her approval before anything actually shipped.)