"Her story is unique," says the parrot's owner, George Gay of Wickliffe, Kentucky. He speaks affectionately about the bird he calls, Baby, who's a 58-year old Mexican Double-Yellow Headed Amazon parrot. "This is my child."
While you hear many pet owners say that, it's very true in this special relationship. George raised Baby right after she hatched and her parents flew the coop. Keep in mind, this relationship began when George was in high school! "If she wants something, she will call 'Papa,' and if i don't respond, she will call 'Pop!" he laughs.
The two haven't always had this tight bond for the entire 58 years Baby's been alive. When George left for college and to travel the world, studying birds, he gave Baby to a school teacher in Missouri. Her loving care kept Baby thriving for more than 40 years. Eventually, the teacher moved into nursing home care, and that's when George says a call came that changed his life once more. "The phone rang and the person said, 'Did you sell my aunt a parrot some 40 years ago?' I said yes that could be true, but my gut really told me yes."
Baby did grieve her former owner a bit...even suffering a stroke, but George nursed her back to health and happiness. He also got this talking bird singing again, partially due to visits at their favorite spot, Diebold Orchards in Benton, Missouri. It's a trip they've been making monthly for the last ten years. "It's the one place we can go in the winter time when Baby could walk through and say hi. She also likes all the foliage right now in the Spring."
She not only greets you, but she also laughs and sings right along with George, even playing the orchard's chimes. As you can imagine, this draws quite a crowd when the pair makes their monthly orchard visit. Orchard owner David Diebold enjoys the visits and agrees Baby is aging quite well. "It's amazing to see a bird that old with so much color. Baby is six months older than me," David laughs.