My son visited on Memorial Day and Gracie, his Gray Parrot, joined our festivities. She and Barkleah share a mutual admiration. Gracie will be two soon. She has developed a vocabulary of over one hundred and fifty words. Her first words, “Barkleah doggie, grrrrr bark bark bark.” created confusion. Her ability to capture words and sounds is amazing. We actually thought Barkleah was at the door announcing strangers approaching.
Gracie prefers mixed vegetables with a splash of scrambled egg for her meals. Like any child in their terrible two’s, she nibbles the corn, carrots, and peas after the egg is devoured. She then relocates her food bowl
to the edge of her cage and calls out, “Gracie, don’t dump your food bowl.” Hearing the warning, Barkleah races to her, poised and excited. Miss Gracie then uses her beak to shove the stainless-steel bowl so it will crash onto the floor. Her next remark is, “Gracie is a Stinker!”
Barkleah, continually hungry, quickly gobbles up the spilled meal and sits next to the cage in anticipation of seconds.
Gracie loves to sing, chatter, and address each of our family members by name. She greets us with her version of a short story. She arrives in a travel cage. Once inside our home, she begins with “Gracie goes in car. Gracie goes to see Mommy(that’s me) and Bill . Gracie wants veggies.” She then opens with her version of Jesus Loves Me, Bird, Bird, Bird, Is the Word, or You Are My Sunshine.
All the while, Barkleah sits in awe. He seems to understand that she is part of the family and should be treated with respect. He rarely leaves her side. When she moves from her cage, perch, or travel cage, she manages an excursion, flying from room to room and then back to her intended landing. Occasionally, that landing can be the top of one’s head. Being tall, Bill is often her landing strip of choice. He diplomatically waves his hand across his head and she gently resumes flight.
Gracie, a wonderful addition to our menagerie, is a life long commitment. She has the life expectancy of around fifty years. Her level of intelligence will reach that of a five year old child. And never say anything around her that you do not want to have repeated. She does not miss ONE word.