Birds of a Feather

05-12-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

I was going to write something that would raise your blood pressure but I came across this and found it too rich to resist. Being the owner of a parrot, or let me rephrase that, a person who has a companion bird, this headline from the Daily Wire caught my eye:

Police Detained A Parrot For Warning Its Owner About A Drug Raid. Yes, A Parrot.

A parrot was detained by police in Brazil after the feathered fiend warned its drug-dealing owners that police were approaching. The parrot started yelling as the police approached its home Monday afternoon, The Guardian reported. The bird shouted "Mama, police!" authorities said.

"He must have been trained for this," one officer who was part of the raid told Brazilian media outlets. "As soon as the police got close he started shouting." Since being detained, the bird, whose name has not been released according to The Guardian, has kept its beak shut. One Brazilian journalist described the animal as a "super obedient" bird.

"So far it hasn't made a sound … completely silent," said the reporter, who appears to have attempted to interview the winged whistleblower. A veterinarian in the area, Alexandre Clark, told one Brazilian media outlet that "Lots of police officers have come by and he's said nothing," referring to the parrot.

Brazilian media outlet Meio Norte (Media North) posted footage of the bird refusing to answer questions. In the video, the bird sits atop police documents in what looks like an interview room, ignoring questions.

Along with the bird, the police raid resulted in the arrests of an adult man and teenage girl, according to local Brazilian media, as well as the seizure of bags of crack cocaine, so even though the parrot tried to warn his family of the impending raid, they were still caught.

Maybe we should rethink which animal is a man's best friend! Alas, this "papagaio do tráfico" (drug trafficking parrot) Portuguese speaking psittacine will be incarcerated in the local zoo. Fortunately, my parrot has not found it necessary to warn me about a Police raid. But she does have an annoying habit of telling me to "shhhh" whenever I am on the phone or whenever anyone else is talking.

A while back I had her at the Vet for a few days of spa treatment, also known as Boarding while I was out of town. When I went to pick her up, the kind people at the Vet told me there was a little problem. You see, sometimes when the "shhh" comes out it sounds like, well you know, sh#!. But it's not. And I told the Vet people I do not teach her bad words, maybe she heard it from the TV. But apparently, some of the other parrots picked up on the word and started repeating it, which did not make their human companions happy. As a result, she had to be separated from the flock. Imagine being told your parrot is a bad influence on the other birds!

That gave me new appreciation of what it must be like to be a parent! Now I understand why a parent sometimes says, "not my kid", well not my bird! What's worse is that parrots are in perpetual teenager mode, always trying to outsmart you, push the boundaries and then fight you when they don't get their way. Plus, when you try to correct them with words, they just mimic you in defiance. One big difference though, you can't lock your teenagers in a cage!

So Happy Mother's Day and thanks for caring for your flock!

Fr. John B.