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Thursday, June 20, 2019

Charley Bird

Charley Bird
I’ve written about Charley Bird in my spent-my-own-money, self-published book, “Maybe It’s Just Me.” But if you have not bought the book, and I highly recommend that you do not. You can read about this wonderful bird right here.

The other day I posted that people have basically one of two pets, a dog or a cat.  Well years ago, we had a bird.  Pop brought home a parakeet, as a present for my mom.  He was named Charley Bird.

Charley Bird was a most remarkable bird.  He had an assortment of toys which he played with when he was out of his cage, and he was out of his cage often. 

He flew around the house and loved talking to himself while staring in a mirror.  If you wanted to get Charley Bird back into his cage, you messed with the squeaky toy inside his cage.  Charley was very protective of his cage and would fly instantly and climb back in.

Did I say Charley Bird would talk to himself? 

Oh, yes, this bird could talk.  He had at least one hundred phrases that my mom carefully taught him.

“Good morning.”

“Hello, my name is Charley Bird.”

“Hello sweet little bird.”

“I love you.”

Mom would have Charley Bird sit on her shoulder while doing the dishes and other chores.  Charley would get up close to her mouth as she repeated a new phrase for him to learn.

Now Charley was really cool, but I wanted Mom to teach him more masculine sounding phrases.

Before I left for college one year I suggested to my Mom.

“Teach him something parrot-like…maybe… ‘Awk, Awk, Pieces of eight!’”

“Oh, like a pirates parrot?”

“Yeah, that would be cool.”

So Mom decided to teach Charley Bird this new phrase. 

Now Mom somehow thought Charley Bird needed to hear perfect diction when learning a new phrase, and she spoke very slowly like you would to anyone who did not know the language.  

This bird could learn and imitate the sound of a spoon dropping, but mom was convinced that to learn a new phrase she needed to speak slowly and with perfect diction.

I returned home for Thanksgiving Vacation anxious to here Charley Bird speak his new, cool, pirate accented  “Awk, Awk, pieces of eight!”

Instead I heard this, in a clear slow sweet perfect diction mom-voice,

“A  w  k.   A  w  k.    p I e c es.    o f.    e I g h t.”

Mom was very proud of Charley Birds new phrase.  At first I was disappointed, but he was mom’s bird, and I grew to prefer Charley’s slow sweet perfect diction mom-voice delivery. 

Mom was not a pirate.


  1. A parrot with perfect diction. ☺ That's pretty cool. Well, now I'm curious about your book. Why don't you want people to buy it? Or, is that reverse psychology? LOL

  2. The parrot mimicry is marvellous. Loved this post, it took me back to my parrot owning days. He would do anything for me but wanted to attack strangers.

  3. Mom and the bird were on the same wave length.

  4. In the UK we call parakeets - budgies.

    Ever since I was told I may be descended from a budgie I could not look myself in the mirror.

    We were a religious family; and we had a budgie. Once when the priest called round my parents proudly showed him the budgie and said, "We've trained him to sing. If you pull his left leg he sings Amazing Grace. If you pull his right leg he sings Alleluia".

    The priest asked jokingly, "What if I pull both legs?"

    The budgie replied, "I fall off my perch you idiot!"

    God bless.

  5. I'm always fascinated, on the rare occasion, when I've come across a talking bird. But I would not be excited about one flying around my home.

  6. Never owned one but had several friends and one sister who did. They are amazing birds. Cute how he picked up her diction.

  7. What a wonderful memory. He was moms parrot and that sure showed.

    Have a fabulous day, Joe. ♪♫♪♫

  8. Too cute! I wonder how long it took for Charley Bird to learn a new phrase. Smart bird I think!


  9. Awww, this made me laugh, thank you.

  10. Your story about Charlie Bird and your mom brought back some wonderful memories. My parents bought us a green parakeet for Christmas one year. She allowed it to fly around the house (which wasn’t necessarily sanitary) and also taught him (Clancy) to talk. He had quite a vocabulary, but I am sure he did not enunciate as well as Charlie Bird.

  11. Heh, heh! Good thing you didn't want your mom to teach Charlie Bird "Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!" I love the image of Charlie Bird sitting on her shoulder, listening.

  12. We had a Galah when I was very young and I don't remember if it talked or not, but years later when I went to live with mum, she had large aviaries lining both sides of her back yard, budgies and other small birds on one side, cockatoos of different varieties on the other side. one of the larger cockatoos learned to screech an exact mimic of mum calling a name (sister) to "get back inside and finish..." (making your bed, cleaning your room drying the dishes etc)

  13. I've had parakeets before and I had no idea they could talk! I'm shocked that none of mine did but I imagine it would've been hard for a bird to catch up with all of our Italian mouths flappin'and we weren't too keen on letting the birds fly around the house at least not on purpose.

  14. thank you for this amazing post dear Joe!

    i am glad that your mom had such cute pet friend and taught him phrases which is so amusing ,i know this because my mom had talking parrots in her last almost ten years of life and last couple she had for more than six years
    they were so close to her and could call us all by our names

  15. Your post was funny, but Victor's comment was HILARIOUS!!!