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Farley: A talented, 2-footed fella

Posted: Wednesday, Jul 17th, 2013

Photo/Pat Mitchell. Farley, the African gray red-tailed parrot, keeps the Fernandez family entertained with his words and imitations.

Out at the west end of South Street lives Farley. Getting to know him is a bit difficult but there are a few things that give hints to his character.

This California-born 10-year-old likes music, can whistle a tune, says, “Good morning, Papa,” and “Good night, Amigo” (he’s bilingual, you see), asks “Where’s Mama?” if she’s not in sight, snores, loves his “brothers” and “sisters”, his favorite rarely-given treats are corn on the cob and spaghetti, just waits to bow his head for prayer time when a family member is leaving, is jealous of the grandkids, does great kiss noises, likes pretty girls and whistles when he sees one, can meow like a cat, bark like a dog, imitate the sound of the mail or garbage truck as well as anyone else’s voice he chooses to mimic and

…he’s an African gray red-tailed parrot.

Farley spends his days on a perch in the Fernandez living room. There he can watch the activities of the household as well as his favorite TV show, “Lawrence Welk.” When that show’s not on, he prefers having music on all the time and is partial to the Mexican genre to which he nods his head and screams.

He is groomed at a veterinarian’s office in Cheyenne every three months. The old saying “getting your wings clipped” is not just a cliché for Farley. This keeps him from flying. As for meals, he gets special food, six half-inch balls per day of fruits and vegetables Fernandez’s specially order online. Grapes are a daily treat.

This bird is a real people parrot. He wants his “flock” to eat together at the table in the living room where he is. When he decides to, he can sound like any of the family members. Before Farley came to live in Wheatland, Victor and Dorothy were visiting daughter Dorothy. Mom started to get up from a chair and didn’t make it. Farley said, “Can I help you?”

One thing he is not allowed is to be higher than his owners. Dominance is established by looking down; humans must be dominant, or the birds can become out of control. As for sleeping, parrots never lay down. They stand on one foot until it gets tired and then they switch feet. With good care, this beautiful, foot-tall bird could live to be 70. From the good care Farley’s getting, that is certainly a possibility.

For the complete article see the 07-17-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 07-17-2013 paper.

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