Monday, November 5, 2012

World's Oldest Parrot

Shropshire isn't renowned as a retirement hotspot for Hollywood divas. So being home to Poncho the macaw is a feather in its cap. Poncho, who at 87 is thought to be the world’s oldest parrot, came to Britain to film 102 Dalmatians with Glenn Close in 2000, having previously appeared in movies alongside Jim Carrey and Eddie Murphy. But she was too frail to return home, so was given to Rebecca Taylor, 53, and her daughter Sophie Williams, 36, who have turned her into the star attraction of their pet shop in Telford, and ensure she only eats her favourite food, walnuts.
But her acting days have left her with a typically Hollywood-style Diva attitude - even in her old age. Sophie said: 'She really is a typical Hollywood diva, she's very demanding. Sorry, I'm berry, berry drunk: Blackbirds intoxicated and unsteady on their feet after eating fermented berries 'She won't eat anything but walnuts and the other day when a photographer came to do some pictures of her - she attacked the camera.
'So she's even into attacking paparazzi - at her age I don't think she likes the attention anymore. 'She only really likes me and my mother, and when I'm on the phone she goes mad and just squawks - she's a typical attention seeking Hollywood celebrity, but we love her. 'But she must have enjoyed working with Jim Carey because when we first got her she'd constantly blurt out 'allllll-righty-then'. 'It's not very nice when she calls you a loser - but I like it when she goes B-E-A-utiful.' Poncho had been part of her family for several years, coming into their possession after she travelled to the UK to film 102 Dalmatians, but was deemed too old to make the journey back to America. The parrot was owned by Birds and Animals Unlimited, a company which provides creatures to both Warner Brothers and Universal.
Pet shop owner Rebecca was offered Poncho as she knew Gary Gero - the owner of the company, who has worked as an animal co-ordinator for over 30 years on hit films such Harry Potter, Casino Royale and Back to the Future. The parrot has been with the family ever since and stays with them in at Rebecca's farm. Rebecca said: 'When we got her she was 75-years-old and we were shown all the documents to prove it. I was amazed that she was still alive even back then. 'But she is so old now - she can't even fly anymore. 'But the old bird does still does very well for herself - even if she has got a few grey feathers. 'We don't know for sure how many films she's been in total, but as she been in the Gero family for two generations, she would have been performing from a young age.'
Poncho has been coming to Rebecca's new shop Beck's Bird Barn in Telford, Shropshire, daily since it opened about two weeks ago and has become somewhat of a local celebrity with movie fans flocking to see the famous bird. Rebecca added: "We've had film fans offer us thousands of pounds for her - but she's part of our family now and we won't be selling her. 'I think she just wants to grow old gracefully now.' In September this year, the world's oldest domestic parrot - belonging to pensioner Nina Morgan - died aged 55. Tarbu was 16 years older than the current Guinness World Record holder for the oldest parrot when he died, officials confirmed at the time. A spokeswoman for Guinness World Records said: 'The record for the oldest parrot is 39 years and is held by pet parrot Fred, owned by Sandra LaFollette of Chariton, Iowa, USA who bought the parrot in 1968 when it was 6 months old.'

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