I'm your average twentysomething living and working in Manhattan, but I won't bore you with any further details (I'll leave that to HBO). Instead, I'll introduce you to my Congo African Grey parrot, Bagel. Greys are considered one of the most intelligent species of birds, with an amazing ability to mimic speech, identify objects, and even do arithmetic. Google "Alex the parrot" after you read this email and you'll see what I mean.
- So, why "Bagel"? On a chilly Saturday morning in late December 2011, my boyfriend and I were at a loss for lunch options, per usual. We were headed east to the F train when we turned around because I decided I wanted a bagel from Brooklyn Bagels. One thing led to another, and we found ourselves at our local Petland Discounts playing with a beautiful baby African Grey*. It was only appropriate that we name our New York-born-and-bred bird after our prized breakfast staple.
- Does she talk? Most definitely. She came home knowing how to say, "hello", "oh boy!", and "I love you", and mimicking a smoke-detector and aquarium bubbler. Since coming home, she's only picked up gibberish, curiously enough, including "wee goo" and "bagel poopah"; she has also learned to mimic coughing and a door squeak. The other day, she said some indecipherable things in a deep masculine voice; I think she picked it up from PBS, which I leave on when I go to work.
- Does she get to go outside? Yes. She's been outside a total of ~8 times, and mostly in the Chelsea area. She's also been to the Upper West Side and Fort Greene. She's still learning how to fly, but we do have a parrot harness ready for when she grows out her flight feathers.
- Where can you find Bagel? On my shoulder around Chelsea. Or, on Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram with the handle "bagelparrot".
*Disclaimer: Bagel was not an impulse buy. I grew up with birds and had been on the market for a parrot for a while. While African Greys make amazing pets, they are so intelligent and sensitive that they may resort to self-destructive behavior if they do not get enough attention. They also live until 60, so be prepared to write them into your wills.