Exotic parrot rescued from tree by Fort McMurray radio host
A tropical parrot - known for its gift of gab - is rescued by radio host
A bright-green parrot trapped in a tree in downtown Fort McMurray.
A kindly disc jockey who put his show on auto-pilot to run out and rescue the poor thing.
A new name. And soon a new home.
It's a strange little story that has a bit of everything.
It all started last Friday, a typical early shift for Peter Potipcoe, the morning show host on a local country music station.
Typical, until he got a call from a local business owner.
"I'm sitting here on my radio show. All is normal. It's a regular Fort McMurray day; we're pumping bitumen, its cold, and then I get the call."
An exotic bird, which clearly had no place in the frozen wilds of northern Alberta, had been fluttering about in their Franklin Avenue back alley for days, and calls to animal control weren't being returned.
"I had to save him. I'm an animal lover," Potipcoe said during a Friday morning interview on Edmonton AM.
"I'm used to getting calls about lost dogs. But a parrot? I had to see it for myself.
"I put the show on auto pilot, and jumped in the company vehicle and drove right over there."
Potipcoe and a few his co-workers soon spotted the bird, perched high in the spindly branches of a birch tree.
"I got on the fence, shimmied up the tree, poked the bird with a stick. Then I realized its wings were clipped.
"It flew down to the ground. I raced over and grabbed it in my sweater. And then I had a new co-host."
And it turns out the bird was well-suited to the job.
Potipcoe soon learned his new friend was a Quaker parrot, a subspecies of parakeet with the gift of gab.
Native to South America, the species is considered one of the chattiest parrots in the world, with a talking ability that rivals the African grey parrot and the Amazon parrot.
"He is a quaker parrot and we're in oil country, so I called him Lil' Quaker State."
Although it's guaranteed to be the talk around the water cooler for weeks to come, bringing the parrot back to the office didn't ruffle any feathers with the boss.
The parrot was brought into the studio, where he perched on the microphone for the rest of Potipcoe's shift and enjoyed some water and blueberries.
"It pooped everywhere. And when you're in a studio, with a bird flying around, its a little sketchy."
Attempts to find Lil Quaker's owners have been unsuccessful. Potipcoe thinks the bird was dumped by someone in the neighbouring apartment building.
"Times are tough in the Mac. I think a family had to move away and abandoned the bird," said Potipcoe.
"These birds are worth hundreds of dollars. If you lost this bird, you would be panicking. And where he was, in the tree, would be one of the first places you would look."
With his apartment already claimed by his pet dachshund and golden retriever, Potipcoe knew he had to find the bird a new home.
He admits the thought of adopting the parrot crossed his mind. "But then he bit me."
"He was obviously abused, but he came around," said Potipcoe.
"We sent him to the veterinarian and got him checked out. He's currently on his way to the SPCA, and hopefully will be adopted by a good family very soon."