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Charlie on NPR

Friday, March 14, 2008

Just a quick demi-post to let you know that one of my commentaries aired on National Public Radio last night. It was a surprise to me--a quick substitution for something that fell through in last night's All Things Considered program. Titled, "A Delightful, Awful Marriage to a Pet Parrot," you can listen to it by clicking here.

As of 9 AM Friday, the piece has climbed to #7 on NPR's Most E-mailed Stories list, which means it'll make it to NPR's weekly podcast, and get heard by all the folks who are too busy to sit around the radio in the afternoon. If you'd care to email it to a friend (you can do that with a click on its NPR page), maybe it'll climb higher! All cause for celebration around the house. I hand-fed Charlie a big warm wad of mashed baked sweet potato and gave him some extra hugs and kisses this morning for sticking with me.
Though I've been braced for hatemail from parrot fanciers, so far there's been none. I got an interesting email from a woman who rescues cockatoos, thanking me for telling it like it is where living with parrots is concerned. "If you keep even one person from going out and buying a parrot, you deserve a medal," she wrote. She directed me to a site warning people against buying cockatoos. Though cockatoos are special head cases in captivity, much of what appears on this site applies to other large parrots and macaws. It's well-written and honest. I wish I'd been able to visit this site in 1986... Check it out.


You could be (for the most part)describing me and my African Gray I've had for 17 years. Anyone even thinking about getting a parrot should envision many long years of taking care of an extremely willful and intelligent toddler.

Julie, long time no see. Your piece hit the Avian Welfare Coalition website, so I am sure you will jump up in ratings very quickly. And of course, I soooo agree with you on how difficult it is to live and take care of parrots. I truly believe that even our best just isn't good enough.

Just who was the idiot that thought ...oh what a pretty bird, I think I will take it out of the wild and stick it in a cage in my house.?

Having been in the parrot rescue business for 10 years, I feel much like the old lady in the shoe, with so many children she didn't know what to do lol.

It was a great piece, keep up the good work.

(Wonder if Magic is on his way home?)


Raunchy. Very appropriate for a parrot matie.

Can you supply a link to the AWC website mention, Sherri? I visited but couldn't find mention of the commentary.
So nice to hear from you. Keep up the good fight.

Julie, just listened and enjoyed, again, as always!
What a good reminder, for all prospective pet owners, of the longterm commitment that bringing one home launches.
Especially one that has the possibility of outliving the owner!
Hamsters come and go, but a parrot is forever.

I'm a new-ish reader of your blog, which I share with my husband, who grew up in a birding family. We love all the stories, though we're particularly enamored with Chet Baker.

I was stirring supper on the stove yesterday evening, NPR tuned in as it habitually is, when I heard your name announced. "Andy!" I called to my husband, "Julie Zickefoose is on the radio!!!"
"Julie Zickefoose, the bird-blog lady! C'mere and listen!"
"Chet Baker's mom! She's talking about Charlie the parrot!!"

That got him running. It was a great piece, and I really enjoyed hearing your voice in my kitchen. I hope you can "drop in" more often!

I listened to the NPR piece Julie, it was a great spot. I almost bought a parrot 15 years ago but my Sister said she wouldn't babysit it when I traveled. That stopped me becasue I knew not just anyone could or should babysit a parrot. I have often wondered who babysits Charlie when you travel because you travel so much. It would be difficult to take a parrot along as you do Chet sometimes. Do you have a special sitter? I have since decided that I don't need a parrot. I will just admire them from afar.

This was a lovely piece, a very nice bookend to your piece last year on tandem tooth-flossing. You write well on relationships -- of whatever variety!

Julie the information came through on my mailing list. The piece will be added on to the website on the next update, sometime next week.

Per usual, what a wonderful piece (on NPR)! So true in so many ways. I like dogs, I love cats, but I LOOOVE parrots, and fully feel guilty for that overwrought fondness (wish I could live in Australia). Folks think I'm nuts when I say it, but I truly believe intelligent psitticines (which have growing flocks of several species right now in the states) and corvids will be among the only species smart enough to survive our human ways, and remain in N.America, when most songbirds have passed from existence.
I mean Charlie already taught me a new come-on:
"Come on in, baby. You know you're ovulating."

Parrot rescue? No way. He's too famously loved. Sweet, raunchy, nippy Charlie :o) I admit I did not know you have another 20 years with him. Charlie could not have landed in a better place.

Another fabulous commentary, Julie. I love the photo of the kiss. Precious.

Heard it, loved it. What a bird.

Posted by Granny Sue March 14, 2008 at 7:44 PM

heard it on my way home the other day -- loved it. Loved hearing your voice on the radio. You rock!

I am so glad you are back - your posts are as comforting as the proverbial glass of milk and cookies before going to bed -- but twice as addicting.

My friends, as of Saturday morning, we are #1 on the Most Emailed Stories list. Holding steady since Friday evening. How do you like that?

TR, I am so glad to be your milk and cookies, dusted with MSG.

I just emailed the piece to my brother and noticed that it was #1. Yay! It's such a great story, Julie, lovingly told. Would life be easier if Charlie had a mate with feathers? That empty nest under the sink seems very sad for another 21 years.

Julie - I'm so glad you posted about this! I was sitting in the car working while Daniel was at soccer practice; the radio was on low, and suddenly something caught my eye. Mind you, I've never heard one of your NPR commentaries - but one or two sentences and I KNEW it was you! I realized that you were talking about your Charlie, and I hung on every word and laughed out loud.

I am so proud of you, for the way you use your skills and gifts to impact the world in such a unique and creative way. You really made my evening with the story - it stood on its own, but what made it even better is that it just added another dimension to what I am blessed to know of you already.

You rock.

Oops. Caught my ear...not my eye...

Absolutely wonderful....really made me miss my Miligold Macaw who went to a new home a few years ago to be a mommy. What a perfect description of living with a parrot...they certainly aren't the pet for everyone.

Just got back from a gig at 3:12 AM Sunday...neurotically checking the Most Emailed list..still numba one. Where's my big foam finger when I need it?

Trixie came to the gig!!! She is sooo cute! Feel like we've known each other for years.

Thanks for all the kind words, folks!

Did Trixie make it? She was trying to get Susan, Nina & I to go along with her. I was sorely tempted. If only I hadn't had to work Saturday ...

Can't wait to hear about the gig.


My husband and I are raising our glasses to you and Charlie.

And, we've decided to get a dog.

Wise choice, Cathy. If only we could put parrot longevity genes into Boston terriers...

Hi Julie. My name is Brad Zickafoose. I just wanted to congratulate you and tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed your piece on NPR. Even though our names our spelled differently it was awesome to be listening to NPR on my way home Friday and hear your name and piece by played on the air. I hope to hear more from you. Cheers!

Loved your story.. I have 2 dogs and 1 Cockatoo and as far as the love and care they need its basically the same, just that dogs dont live as long. Merlin (Cockatoo) appears to be as happy and content as can be. Other then having the companion of another parrot to interact with, he has everything a parrot could dream to have and then some.

What a perfect description of life with a parrot. I loved it...thank you. I 'saw' in on our parrot e-mail list. Why ever would parrot lovers dislike it? It made me miss my Macaw who went to a new home a few years ago to be a mommy.

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