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Bird News – Parrots as Criminals, Crime Fighters and Stool Pigeons

ConureThe quite unexpected antics of a number of parrots have made news this past week…from assisting drug cartel members in Columbia (unwittingly, of course!) to exposing the unfaithfulness of an owner’s partner (perhaps on purpose?), pet parrots continue to show that they are well equipped to trick, help and frustrate us…

Love Triangle Exposed

Parents learn very quickly to watch what they say around toddlers – parrot owners, it seems, should as well.  Upon sitting down on a couch near her bird cage, a woman who owned an African Gray Parrot was surprised to hear her pet say “Oh Claire ,oh Claire, I love you!” – surprised because her name was not Claire!

Suspecting that her boyfriend was using the couch for purposes other than watching TV, the woman called him at work…only to find that he was at lunch with, as fate would have it, Claire.  Within a day or so the woman caught the pair leaving her home at a time when they thought she was at work.  Unfortunately, Harvey the parrot seemed to enjoy screaming out Claire’s name (perhaps he had heard it very often!) – so much so that his owner found him a new home!

“Attack Parrot” Assists Police

Burglars who broke into a UK pet store were given a rude shock by Jake, a young Sun Conure.  Jack had the run of the store, and attacked the men with such fury that next morning the police found cloth and blood on his beak.  They were able to collect DNA samples from Jake and from blood found on the floor, and believe it will assist them in arresting the culprits.

The store owner said that Jake had exhibited protective instincts towards other birds, and credited him with cutting short the burglar’s raid and saving them a great deal of money.  As the men also killed a number of animals, in chasing them off Jake certainly saved a few lives as well.

A Drug-Dealing Amazon

Police entering a drug cartel hideout in Barranquilla, Columbia were surprised when someone began yelling “Run, run, you’re going to get caught!”, because they had checked for lookouts and had found none.  Who could blame them for ignoring Lorenzo, the innocent-looking parrot who, as it turned out, had sounded the alarm?

Lorenzo apparently had been taught to call out upon the approach of strangers.  As bird-owners well know, many parrots are very good at associating objects and situations with phrases – in fact, the Columbian police report “arresting” over 1,700 parrots for “aiding and abetting” criminals!

African GreyDespite Lorenzo’s good timing and delivery, the police seized over 200 weapons, a stolen motorcycle and a substantial amount of marijuana from his criminal cohorts.  Lorenzo, who was spared a jail cell, so delighted police and with his repertoire that they made extraordinary efforts to find him a new (and safer!) home (please see video below).

Further Reading

A very talkative Indian Hill Myna once got me into trouble with a certain well-known zoo director.  Please see The Care and Natural History of the Hill Mynafor the story.

Very entertaining Video of Lorenzo showing off his “criminal” skills.

Please see my article Parrots Behaving Badly for tales of how beer-guzzling and cursing landed other parrots in trouble (not their fault, of course!)



Conure image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Michael Gwyther Jones
African Grey Parrot image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Eli Duke

About Frank Indiviglio

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I believe that I was born with an intense interest in animals, as neither I nor any of my family can recall a time when I was not fascinated by creatures large and small. One might imagine this to be an unfortunate set of circumstances for a person born and raised in the Bronx, but, in actuality, quite the opposite was true. Most importantly, my family encouraged both my interest and the extensive menagerie that sprung from it. My mother and grandmother somehow found ways to cope with the skunks, flying squirrels, octopus, caimans and countless other odd creatures that routinely arrived un-announced at our front door. Assisting in hand-feeding hatchling praying mantises and in eradicating hoards of mosquitoes (I once thought I had discovered “fresh-water brine shrimp” and stocked my tanks with thousands of mosquito larvae!) became second nature to them. My mother went on to become a serious naturalist, and has helped thousands learn about wildlife in her 16 years as a volunteer at the Bronx Zoo. My grandfather actively conspired in my zoo-buildings efforts, regularly appearing with chipmunks, boa constrictors, turtles rescued from the Fulton Fish Market and, especially, unusual marine creatures. It was his passion for seahorses that led me to write a book about them years later. Thank you very much, for a complete biography of my experience click here.
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