Guess Who is Coming to Dinner

Bird Lou

“There will be one more for Thanksgiving dinner” he said with an odd grin on his face. I knew he was trying to be funny but I did not know what he was really saying. “My mom is bringing Lou” he laughed. Ugh, this is bad news, I thought. “Will he be going back with your mom?” I said. “No, he is staying.” he said. 

Lou was a 25-year-old yellow nape Amazon terror. Better known as Luigi or Screwy Louie. The family got him in 1979 and he had lived with everyone in the family at one time or another, but by everyone opinion really was Todd’s bird. Birds have a tendency to pick favorites, especially this breed. My boyfriend had him when I met him so I knew this was part of the package, but had escaped having him actually living with us till now. We bought a house and were in the process of hosting our first holiday. I couldn’t argue the point, the screwball parrot belonged to us and I would have to figure out how to overcome my fear. 

Lou was born in the wild, and purchased in a pet store in south Florida. He was hanging upside down by one foot saying “Arriba, Arriba,” in Spanish, so basically, he was trouble from day one. Well… entertaining at the very least. Either way he was always looking for, or getting into trouble, and I was scared of him. He was very loud and an accomplished escape artist. He could free himself of his cage in seconds. To keep him in his cage you literally had to use a pad lock it and remove the key. Nothing else would work. He was skilled in removing clips or even the lock if you left the key in it. Needless to say, he was smart. If you failed to secure him properly, he would open his door, slide down the cage to the floor and chase me around on foot/claw or find a pair of my shoes and chew them. He could fly, but mostly chose to walk around on the floor unlike a bird, in search of his own entertainment.

Parrots are very intelligent and have the ability to talk if you spend time teaching them. Many say they just mimic, but having spent many years with them I can say this is not true. I have never heard him say goodbye when you came in, or hello when you left. He understood the appropriate word for the appropriate time. This kind of communication makes you feel closer to them in a way because they can communicate in your language. Any animal lover and/or pet owner learns their pet’s communication style, and birds are no different in the fact that they each have their own personality just like cats and dogs.

I did grow to love Lou and “talk” with him. I became less scared of him as time passed and I ended being his main care taker when it came to feeding. I cut up fruits and veggies every day. He ate better than me (ha). He lived to the age of 37 and was loved and still missed!