January 17, 2006

Ziggy the parrot.

CNN reports:
The African grey parrot kept squawking "I love you, Gary" as his owner, Chris Taylor, sat with girlfriend Suzy Collins on the sofa of their shared flat in Leeds, northern England.

But when Taylor saw Collins's embarrassed reaction, he realized she had been having an affair -- meeting her lover in the flat whilst Ziggy looked on, the UK's Press Association reported.

Ziggy even mimicked Collins's voice each time she answered her telephone, calling out "Hiya Gary," according to newspaper reports.

Call-center worker Collins, 25, admitted the four-month affair with a colleague called Gary to her boyfriend and left the flat she had shared with Taylor, 30, for a year.

Taylor said he had also been forced to part with Ziggy after the bird continued to call out Gary's name and refused to stop squawking the phrases in his ex-girlfriend's voice, media reports said.

"I wasn't sorry to see the back of Suzy after what she did, but it really broke my heart to let Ziggy go," he said.

"I love him to bits and I really miss having him around, but it was torture hearing him repeat that name over and over again.

"I still can't believe he's gone. I know I'll get over Suzy, but I don't think I'll ever get over Ziggy."
Suzy's better off without a guy who would treat Ziggy that way. I suppose it was torture, having the parrot raving about Gary in Suzy's voice, but really: get a sense of humor. It's quite hilarious, the parrot saying "I love you, Gary" in front of the cheating girlfriend. And come on, the girlfriend lives in the place with the talking bird for a year yet she still provides him with the material to expose her? I think she had to want to get back at Chris:
"I am surprised to hear he got rid of that bird.

"He spent more time talking to it than he did to me."
Sounds like she was planning to leave him anyway and devised an amusing plan to let him know -- and to take revenge on the bird he loved more than her. And now Chris has no girlfriend and no parrot. And he's got his name in the news as a warning to all future girlfriends: here's the kind of a guy who would punish an innocent bird.

UPDATE: The NYT has a correction on its report of the parrot story:
Although the article reported that the information had been obtained from reports in The Daily Telegraph and other British newspapers, The Times could not verify the former couple's accounts because the information was given to the British press by a freelance journalist who charged for the account. The Times does not pay for information. The Times should have disclosed fully to readers why we relied on other news reports. Or, perhaps it would have been prudent, given that condition, for The Times to have resisted parroting the episode at all.


Meade said...

Does anyone know how roasted parrot tastes? Is it rich like duck or is it a little gamey like... well, like squirrel?

David said...

"You're a putz Chris...waaaaack!"

Ziggy is better off! Let's hope the ZIG gets adopted by an owner named GARY!


Simon Kenton said...

I knew the relationship was in trouble when -

My friend began comparing the behavior of his wife and his parrot. The parrot was the more rational and composed of the two, less likely to cause public scenes, slightly less violent, neither affectionate, both equally raucous.

But, he was 'committed' to them both. Nothing like a Catholic upbringing.

AllenS said...

Parrot tastes like bald eagle, but without that fishy taste.

Meade said...

Thanks, Allens.

Yes, Simon... commitment.

To paraphrase Kahlil Gibran... If you love a [parrot], let [it] go, for if [it] returns, he was always yours. And if he doesn't, [you should have put him in the oven while you had the chance].

LarryK said...

The comments on this thread are shockingly avian-ophobic.

Meade said...

Brokeback Parrot, based on the E. Annie Psittaciformes story about a forbidden and secretive relationship between a boy, a bird, and their lives over the years.

Der Hahn said...

I think it would also be accurate to say that she has her name in the news as a warning to all future boyfriends : here's a woman who'll use an innocent bird in a passive-agressive attack.

Michael Babin said...

I think you give the guy too little credit, Ann. He didn't kill the bird or do anything cruel to it. He just sold it to a dealer. Ziggy probably has a good home now.

And the idea that the girl deliberately taught the parrot these phrases as a way to get at him? I think you give her WAY too much credit!

sonicfrog said...

If me and Greg ever split up, there would be a fight over our Parrot, Miss Bird. Actually, if that ever happened, I would get her because she likes me better than him.


Strong emotions make people do strange things. If your girl / boyfriend cheated on you with your best friend, would you not get rid of all those pictures you have with that friend (probably in some violent ritual)?

I know it can be very traumatic for the bird to change owners. They are very social birds and attach to their owners in unique ways. It is hard for them to adopt a new member of the flock. This is a big problem with Greys and Macaws, as they can life for 80 years, and often outlive their original owners.

Michael said...

She cheated on the guy in his own home and you feel fine implying that he deserved it?

(Based strictly on a vindictive comment made by the person who cheated, by the way.)

If it wasn't working out she could have just left him BEFORE sleeping with another man.

I'm very disappointed with how callously you treated this guy.

Would you have had the same opinion of this situation if the roles had been reversed?

Ann Althouse said...

Elliot: How are you seeing sympathy for Suzy in my comment? The only one I show sympathy to is the parrot.

Michael said...

Oh. Well, that's OK.

I'm a parrot sympathizer myself.

But for clarification purposes, these were the lines that sounded as if you thought she was justified:

"Sounds like she was planning to leave him anyway and devised an amusing plan to let him know -- and to take revenge on the bird he loved more than her. "

Note the words "amusing," "revenge," and "bird he loved more than her."

(Also, I'm not responsible for any posts I make after 11:00 P.M. Someone really needs to take the (keyboard) keys away from me to prevent my from posting while sleepy.)

ligneus said...

Anonymous poem from India c.650AD.

Next morning
when a damn fool parrot-
right before her parents-
starts to mimic
last night's cries of love,
the girl leaps up,
claps her hands to
start the children dancing-
jangle of her bracelets
drowning out
the parrot's calls.