Talking Parrot Missing for 4 Years Found, Now Speaks Spanish

When Nigel vanished four years ago, he spoke with a cultivated British accent.

Little is known about where the African grey parrot went, what he did — or who he was with — in those missing years. But when he was reunited with his owner, Darren Chick, in Torrance last week, the British accent was gone and the bird was chattering in Spanish, often mentioning the name “Larry.”

The happy reunion began to unfold after veterinarian Teresa Micco — who had been running ads for her own lost African grey parrot, Benjamin — was contacted by the owners of Happy Tails Dog Spa in Torrance, who said they thought they’d found her missing bird at their Torrance home.

“I heard somebody whistling and saying, ‘Hello? Hello?’ ” said Julissa Sperling, who owns Happy Tails with her husband, Jonathan, and was at home when the queries brought her to the door. “I opened the door and went out — nothing.”

When it happened again, she took a closer look and spotted the parrot.

“I own a dog-grooming business so we put him in a little cage and brought him with us to the store,” she said. “He was the happiest bird. He was singing and talking without control. ... He was barking like the dogs. I’m from Panama and he was saying, ‘What happened?’ in Spanish.”

Delighted by the bird’s verbal mimicry, she was getting attached quickly. But she knew he must belong to someone, so the couple began looking on the Internet for a possible owner. They spotted Micco’s ad for her missing bird and thought it might be a match.

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