Nigel, The Talking British Parrot Who Now Only Speaks Spanish

Sometimes you’ve just got to laugh. Out loud preferably. The way the world is lately, we are crying out for it.

Sorry for the mixed metaphor. But I’m sure you get the idea.

Hopefully what I’m about to tell you, will give you a good laugh.

A pet parrot called Nigel, which previously only ever spoke English with a British accent, when he disappeared from his home four years ago, has been reunited with his owner.

That’s the good news.

Here’s the bad news. The bird now only speaks Spanish.

The touching reunion, between owner and pet, was orchestrated by a Southern Californian veterinarian, who initially mistook Nigel, an African gray parrot, for her own missing bird.

Nigel was micro-chipped as most animals are these days.

Veterinarian, Teresa Micco, tracked Nigel’s microchip to Darren Chick (believe it or not that is his real name) a British man living in Torrance, California.

Teresa takes up the story saying that when she introduced herself and said to Chick, have you lost a bird? He initially said no, but he thought she meant had he lost a bird recently. Nigel disappeared four years ago.

Teresa, the Vet, to her credit, persisted. She’d verified Chick’s name as the registered owner. She then told him she’d found his missing African grey parrot. Of course Chick thought he was dealing with a crazy woman. How could she have found his pet parrot when it’s been missing for four years?

Little is known about Nigel’s whereabouts for the past four years but how he talks now, as in the language he uses, could be a fairly substantial clue.

Chick says the bird’s British accent is gone, and it now chatters away in fluent Spanish. Unfortunately Chick doesn’t speak Spanish so it’s not like he can ask Nigel about what was happening for the past four years. In any case, Chick said the reunion brought tears of joy to his eyes – despite the fact that Nigel bit him when he first tried to pick him up. How quickly they forget.

Teresa, the Vet, who knows a lot about animal behavior, said Nigel’s recalcitrant attitude was not unusual and he would soon settle back to his old self.

“He’s doing perfect,” Chick, (who also seems to have also lost his British accent), told the local newspaper. “It’s really weird. I knew it was him from the minute I saw him.”

There is a small, cruel irony in this story with the happy ending. Teresa, the Vet, has been running ads over the past ten months for her own missing parrot, Benjamin, who flew the coop in February by darting through an open door.

She’s managed to reunite five other missing parrots with their owners, but no luck in locating Benjamin. How Nigel ended up with Teresa, the Vet, is a mission in its self. A woman called Julissa Sperling, managed to catch Nigel, outside her house, and brought him to Teresa, after seeing one of her ads. But first, she took Nigel to her dog-grooming business. It was like mana from heaven for an animal that likes to copy sounds.

“He was the happiest bird. He was singing and talking without control,” Sperling said. “He was barking like the dogs. I’m from Panama, and he was saying, What happened? In Spanish.”

What happened indeed. Sadly, Julissa didn’t bother asking Nigel, in Spanish of course. Hopefully someone will. He just might tell them. I am sure it will make for one hell of a story.

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