- African grey parrot Nigel lived in California with British owner Darren Chick
- But went missing in 2010 – not to be found for four more years
- By the time Nigel was returned his accent – and language – transformed
- May have learned Spanish from Panamanian dog-groomer who found him
A British-sounding parrot called Nigel went missing for four years – and came home with a Spanish accent.
Nigel, who lived in Torrance, California with his British owner, Darren Chick, flew away one day in 2010, and was gone so long he was given up for lost.
But, in a case of mistaken identity, Nigel was returned to another pet owner, who was also looking for their African grey parrot, and was able to pass him on to Chick.
However, during his long absence, Nigel had forgotten all about his British roots – and started speaking Spanish.
Rather than swapping pleasantries in English, the bird now fires off a ‘¿Que pasa?’ to passing humans, the Daily Breeze reported.
After Nigel went missing, he lived in the wild – presumably around Torrance – until he was found a few months ago by a local business owner, Julissa Sperling.
After hearing Nigel making noise outside her house, she took him in and searched for potential owners. Instead of his actual owner, she found an ad put out by Teresa Micco, a local vet.
When the mistake emerged, Micco noticed that Nigel had a microchip, and used it to find Chick and reunite the two.
Sperling, a Panamanian who speaks Spanish, said Nigel might have picked up some of her phrases while waiting in the shop.
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.’
However, when Sperling handed Nigel over to Teresa Micco, a local vet, she realized he wasn’t the right bird.
Micco had been searching for her own African grey parrot, Benjamin, who flew away this February.
But Micco was able to track down Chick with information from Nigel’s microchip, and brought him home shortly after taking him in.
She said: ‘I introduced myself and said, “Have you lost a bird?” 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.’
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.
He said: ‘He’s doing perfect. It’s really weird. I knew it was him from the minute I saw him.
Nigel is the fifth parrot guided home by Micco, who has been running ads for her own missing bird for nine months.
Article By Kieran Corcoran for MailOnline and Associated Press