California man Darren Chick was happily surprised, and a little confused, when his missing pet parrot returned after four years and had somehow learned Spanish.
Julissa Sperling, owner of Happy Trails dog-grooming business, first discovered the parrot outside her home when it continued to whistle and say “Hello” on her front step. When Sperling spotted the parrot, she placed him inside a cage and brought him to Happy Trails.
“He was the happiest bird. He was singing and talking without control,” Sperling said. “He was barking like the dogs…and he was saying, ‘What happened?’ in Spanish.”
Sperling began to look for the parrot’s owner via the Internet when she saw Teresa Micco’s ad for her missing bird. When Sperling read the description of Micco’s “Benjamin” – with his distinctive yellow eyes and red tail – she knew she had found a match. However, when Micco, a veterinarian, used a scanner to check for a microchip, her ownership information didn’t show up.
“I felt so sorry for her, her face changed totally when she found out it wasn’t hers,” Sperling said. “But then she said, ‘He’s microchipped so let’s find the owner.’”
After a bit of investigative work, Sperling and Micco tracked paper sales records to the bird’s owner, Chick, who was quite surprised to learn that his bird had returned after four years with a knowledge of Spanish. Interestingly, the parrot's British accent, which he had acquired after mimicking Chick, was gone.
The reunion brought tears to Chick’s eyes, though his pet, Nigel, initially bit his hand. Micco noted that the behavior is normal and that Nigel will soon be cozying up to Chick again.
Micco, who said her own parrot has been spotted several times in the area, said she’s confident that she’ll find him soon.