TORRANCE, Calif. (AP) — Nigel the parrot has said "cheerio" to his British-born owner and "Buenos dias" to another family.
The African grey parrot spoke with a British accent when it disappeared from a Southern California home four years ago. But Nigel spoke Spanish when he was found and returned to Darren Chick of Torrance last week.
Someone found the bird and turned it over to a vet who found Chick by accessing the bird's microchip.
Chick, who's British, said he wept tears of joy. But on Wednesday, he gave Nigel to the Torrance family who'd kept the bird for the four years he was missing.
The Torrance Daily Breeze (http://bit.ly/1CnXMe9) said that a family member emailed the paper after hearing about Nigel's return and said they were heartbroken after the bird flew away from their home earlier this month.
Liza Smith said her grandparents bought the parrot they call Morgan — after the rum that features a parrot on the label — at a garage sale for $400. It learned Spanish from her Guatemalan-born grandfather.
"Loro Macho, Loro Macho" Ruben Hernandez, 86, cooed to his feathered friend on Wednesday at the home of the Redondo Beach veterinarian who found Nigel.
"We're just over the moon," Smith told the newspaper.
Smith said the bird had become a special friend to her grandfather, especially in the two years since he lost his wife, who used to whistle tunes to the bird.
The parrot "is one of the last mementos for my grandpa," she wrote in her email to the Daily Breeze. "Morgan's loss has been hard on him. They have a very special bond."
Morgan also knows the first bars of the theme from the movie "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly," knows the names of the family's three dogs, barks like them, and likes to imitate the beeping sounds made by an early-morning trash truck, Smith said.