There is no name more British than Nigel and so for British owner, Darren Chick, living in Torrance, California, he taught Nigel, his pet African grey parrot, how to talk with a British accent.
But one day in 2010 Nigel flew away and was gone for so long that he was given up for lost.
Nigel was a missing parrot for four years until a few months ago when the owners of Happy Tails Dog Spa in Torrance heard him calling from outside their shop and took him in.
“I heard somebody whistling and saying, ‘Hello? Hello?’ ” said Julissa Sperling, who owns the dog-grooming business with her husband, Jonathan, both from Panama.
The Sperlings, who speaks Spanish, describe the parrot as the happiest bird since it was singing and talking and barking like the dogs and kept on asking, “Que pasa?” (What happened?), in Spanish. He must have known a guy also by the name of “Larry” as he kept on mentioning it.
Julissa, impressed by the parrot’s verbal mimicry was getting attached to it, but knew that somebody else must be looking for it.
What they did was look on the Internet and verify for possible owners. Coincidentally, Teresa Micco, a veterinarian, has been running ads for her own lost African grey parrot named Benjamin.
While the parrot looked a lot like Micco’s Benjamin – including the distinctive yellow eyes and red tail – Micco used a scanner to check for a microchip, which did not turn up her ownership information.
Since the microchip turned out to be Darren Chick’s bird, Nigel, Micco immediately got in touched with Chick and informed him about the find.
Chick was obviously dumbfounded, but the reappearance of Nigel in his life four years after brought tears of joy to his eyes – despite the fact that Nigel, who now has forgotten his English, bit him when he first tried to pick him up.
I am sure they are now back where they started – mimicking the British accent.