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Bongo Marie and the Cornish Game
Story & Illustration by Sally Blanchard
This story about my African grey appeared in the first issue of the Pet Bird
Report. I am convinced after living
with Bongo Marie for over 20 years that she has a sense of humor. Her laughter
is almost always appropriate. It seems to me as if some African greys have a
superiority complex, as if they think they are better than other parrots they
live with. Certainly Bongo Marie has always acted as if Paco, my female double
yellow head Amazon, was not her equal -- as if green was an inferior color. They
both have lived with me for about 20 years now and will never be friends. Bongo
will occasionally call Paco's name until Paco responds. Then the grey will tell
the Amazon to "Be Quiet!"
A few years ago, Bongo Marie's cage was right next to the dining room table
and Paco's cage was right near the door. I was fixing dinner and had just taken
a Cornish game hen out of the oven. Bongo Marie climbed down the side of her
cage and eyed my dinner quizzically. Suddenly, she threw her head up and in a
frantic questioning voice exclaimed, "OH NO, PACO!?!?!" After I stopped
laughing. I explained to her that the bird on the platter was not Paco, "Look
Bongo Marie -- that's not Paco. Paco is right over there." She looked towards
Paco and in a very indignant voice said, "oh no," as if she was disappointed.
Then she laughed hysterically with her very maniacal laugh as if to let me know
she had been joking all of the time.