Monday, January 23, 2006

LONDON (Agence France-Presse) — A talkative parrot is being blamed for the breakup of a couple’s relationship after squawking the name of the woman’s secret lover, British newspapers reported last week.

Ziggy, an 8-year-old African gray parrot, prompted a confession from Suzy Collins, a 25-year-old call-center worker, that she was having a four-month fling with a former colleague when the bird blurted out: “Gary, I love you.”

The pet had previously said, “Hiya, Gary” when Miss Collins’ cell phone rang and made kissing noises when the name “Gary” was mentioned on radio or television, but the bird’s owner, Chris Taylor, a computer programmer from Leeds in northern England, laughed it off.

But Mr. Taylor — who bought Ziggy as a chick and named it after singer David Bowie’s alter ego, “Ziggy Stardust” — said he figured things out when the couple were snuggled up on the sofa before Christmas.

“We were watching [TV] when Ziggy blurted out, ‘I love you, Gary’ in Suzy’s voice. I started laughing, but when I looked at Suzy, I could tell something was up. Her face was beet red, and she started to cry,” said Mr. Taylor, 30.

“I felt sick to my stomach. She told me that she’d been seeing someone she’d met at work called Gary, and that she wanted to finish with me.

“She said she was going to tell me anyway but didn’t know how and couldn’t find the right time. I’ve no idea who this Gary is.

“I was devastated. Suzy left that night, and I’ve not seen her since. She came back to collect her stuff when I was out. I hope I never see her again.”

Miss Collins told newspapers that she was not proud of her actions but admitted she never liked Ziggy in the first place.

Mr. Taylor — already divested of a girlfriend — has now given away the parrot.

“I couldn’t get him to stop saying that bloody name … what else could I do?” he asked.

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