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Icky wants a funny bone

April E. Clark
April in Glenwood
April Clark
Staff Photo |

Parrots are odd birds, as the saying goes.

I couldn’t find the origin of that quip, but I gather it comes from stumbling upon the dodo bird in an encyclopedia and seeing the accompanying illustration, and the reaction that followed. The goofy and extinct dodo is straight out of a computer-animated kid flick with celebrity voice-overs.

The cartoon-like superb bird of paradise is pretty out there, too.

We recently inherited my grandpa’s bird, a funny green Amazon parrot named Icky, a strange one by my standards of birds. Who talk. It’s odd in that Icky sounds exactly like my grandmother and grandfather in some of the things they used to say. Apparently they liked to call each other baby.

Not surprising.

In the last few months, I’ve heard Icky say some pretty funny things. Walk into the room and “Hey, baby!” is a common greeting. My dad walked by Icky’s cage the other day and the parrot said, rather matter-of-factly, “Hey, big boy, whatcha doin’?”

That’s one of my favorite Ickyisms.

My grandpa’s beloved bird also likes to say “Tickle tickle,” which is awfully cute, as bird chatter goes. He’s also fond of growling, in a good way, and saying, “I like that” when presented with seeds or unabiding attention. And he’s caught on to one of my unfortunate habits, saying “Whatever.” That’s totally my fault, but at least it’s not a swear word. Being around a parrot is a lot like having a toddler.

Or a chatimal.

Icky also likes to throw out “Hi” in a flirty voice like he’s picking up a hot Parrothead at one of Jimmy Buffett’s Cheeseburger in Paradise bars in the Caribbean or something. That’s not creepy at all, to have a male bird hit on me.

Maybe I need a parrot costume to help his confidence.

Icky also likes to remind my dad of his daily chores. The other afternoon he was going out the door, and this conversation.

“Hey,” Icky said.

“What?” my dad asked.

“You need to go get the mail,” Icky ordered.

This parrot runs a tight ship.

Icky has also caught on to the new dogs in his life. He especially keeps his eye on the smallest dog in the house, Howie Long. He’s my parent’s basset hound, who was happily adopted from Colorado Animal Rescue, and is now a full-blown Hoosier. He’s short in stature but large in personality. He’s the first one to go to the door whenever it opens, always wanting to be outside. Icky has already caught on to his ways, so much so he instructs, “Howie needs to go out first.”

I’m starting to think Howie and Icky have some kind of agreement.

Icky also loves music. As soon as he hears tunes of any kind, he perks up, and can be known to bop up and down like he’s dancing. When the “Bad Grandpa” movie was coming out, I pulled up the trailer to watch the little miss beauty pageant scene, the 1990 Warrant hit “Cherry Pie” blared from my laptop.

And Icky took notice. He started getting excited, which usually involves squawking and ringing his toy bell. I think I even heard him say “Tickle tickle.” Then there was dancing, or in bird translation, bopping up and down. Of course no one else was there to see it, and when I try to get the same reaction for video, he acts more reserved than a viral YouTube requires. But I know in my mind he really loves that song. So I keep playing it for him.

Maybe it’s really my deal.

I imagine there will be more to watch and hear as Icky makes his transition from living with my grandparents to his new home. He is just 25, a youngster in the bird world. Amazon parrots like Icky can live upwards of 60 or 70 years in captivity, so he has a long life of making people laugh ahead of him. He’s a lot like my Grandpa Bud in how funny he is. I can hear both my grandparents in his tone. He calls for Bud quite a bit, and when we don’t answer, he keeps calling with his voice getting louder.

It’s like having both my grandparents in the house again.

He is keeping their fun-natured spirit alive, and for that I’m thankful. Maybe someday Icky and I could take our act on the road. I’m pretty sure he would kill it. He could be the next big thing in green Amazon parrot acts — although a quick Internet search shows he has some competition.

As odd birds go, his Ickyisms are comedy gold.

— April E. Clark wishes her college roommate Lynne a happy birthday. Be ready for that poem. She can be reached at aprilelizabethclark@gmail.com.


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