TORRANCE, Calif. (AP) - A pet parrot that spoke with a British accent when it disappeared from its home four years ago has been reunited with its owner - and the bird now speaks Spanish.
The reunion was brought about by a Southern California veterinarian who mistook Nigel, an African gray parrot, for her own missing bird, the Daily Breeze reported Sunday (http://bit.ly/1qU5dU3).
Teresa Micco tracked Nigel's microchip to Darren Chick, a Brit who lives in Torrance.
"I introduced myself and said, 'Have you lost a bird?'" Micco told the newspaper. "He initially said, 'No.' But he thought I meant recently."
When she verified Chick's name and said she had his African grey parrot, "He looked at me like I was crazy."
He said his bird went missing four years earlier.
Little is known about Nigel's whereabouts the past four years, but Chick says the bird's British accent is gone, and it now chatters in Spanish.
Chick says last week's reunion brought tears of joy to his eyes - despite the fact that Nigel bit him when he first tried to pick him up.
Micco said the behavior was not unusual and that Nigel would settle back in soon enough.
"He's doing perfect," Chick told the newspaper by the week's end. "It's really weird. I knew it was him from the minute I saw him."
It's the fifth parrot reunion facilitated by Micco, who has been running ads for her own missing bird for nine months. That parrot, Benjamin, flew the coop in February when it darted out a door that was left open.
Julissa Sperling found Nigel outside her home and brought him to Micco after seeing one of her ads.
But first, she took Nigel to her dog-grooming business.
"He was the happiest bird. He was singing and talking without control," Sperling said. "He was barking like the dogs. I'm from Panama and he was saying, 'What happened?' in Spanish."
Information from: Daily Breeze, http://www.dailybreeze.com