Winston Churchill’s Parrot

parrotNewspapers are reporting the story of Charlie, a parrot that is 104 years old, once belonged to Winston Churchill, and still swears at the Nazis. When I read about Charlie, I figured it couldn't be true. First of all, could a parrot really live that long? Well, apparently in rare cases they can. So that part of the story might be true. But there is a lot of doubt about whether Charlie ever belonged to Churchill. Churchill's family is denying that Winston ever owned a parrot. Charlie might simply be a parrot that somebody once taught to swear at the Nazis. Oh, and Charlie is a girl.


Posted on Tue Jan 20, 2004


Just wanted to mention that macaws definitely can live to be that old (which is one of the many many reasons that they usually don't make the best pets) . . .
Posted by Katie  in  Moorpark, CA  on  Sat May 08, 2004  at  01:13 AM
And...she's a Norwegian Blue, and she's nailed to her perch...and she's pining for the fjords...
Posted by catlady  on  Sat Jul 31, 2004  at  04:52 AM
What I find interesting are the comments. First, Macaws make EXCELLENT companions, not pets. Anyone that knows birds can tell you that. Second, talk about a hoax, there is no such thing as a "Norwegian Blue" parrot. This is a Blue & Gold Macaw, which are from South America. Of course, the "Norwegian Blue" comes from the Monty Python "Dead Parrot" sketch. I hope these people were joking, badly, but at least it would mean they serious didn't take either comment seriously.
Posted by Ed  in  USA  on  Thu May 12, 2005  at  06:05 AM
Yes, I know birds of all shapes and sizes. "Anyone who knows birds" would probably agree that the vast majority of people buy macaws as impulse pets because they want something that can talk, without realizing that macaws are destructive, very long-lived, extremely loud, and can become aggressive and neurotic if not well-cared for (and sometimes even if well-cared for . . . why do you think the macaw in the picture has pulled out all its feathers?).

Chill out. I was trying not to encourage the exploitative exotic bird pet trade (without unnecessarily writing an essay about it). Yeah, they can make good pets for somebody who has the experience, understands what they're getting themselves into, and can provide for a bird for the 80+ years of its life but the vast majority of people can't. People SHOULD take the first comment seriously, because getting any type of pet is a life-long commitment. And anybody who takes the posting about the Norwegian Blue seriously (as if it would mean anything to someone who does) is a moron.
Posted by Katie  on  Sat May 14, 2005  at  01:35 AM
First, this has nothing to do with the parrot trade, and second, there is NO substance to your claim that "the vast majority of people buy Macaws as an impulse buy". Macaws cost between $600 to more than $8000, so it is very rare that they are an "impulse buy". The only people that want to believe those lies are those that don't like birds in captivity at all. Any person taking any part of your first or second rant as remotely true, would be either poorly misinformed, or as you said yourself, a moron. If you want to make a point, try using actual facts, and then do it on a site that such a statement is meant in the first place!
Posted by Ed  in  USA  on  Mon May 16, 2005  at  05:09 PM
Pissy, pissy.

Macaws are not an impulse buy!? How do you explain the hundreds of macaws abandoned every year? What about the 30 psittacines I've cared for over the past few years that were discarded by their owners after they became too loud, too posessive, too destructive, etc.? The high price of these birds has nothing to do with it. There are clearly plenty of people who can afford to pay this price, which is how such a such a large number of exotic animals are bought as pets each year. Go visit an exotic cat sanctuary sometime and ask those running the sanctuary about the problem. People buy tigers for pets every day (for about $300 at the cheapest).

You think I'm lying because I don't like animals in captivity? I am unquestionably an anti-animal rights activist. I have a job working with captive, trained macaws among other animals so quit making assumptions.
Posted by Katie  on  Tue May 17, 2005  at  10:23 PM
Considering you rely on PETA for your only news source on the matter, I guess it isn't a surprise to see that you post fantasy as fact. Otherwise you would know that your claims are simply false, since there are no records of how many parrots are abandoned each year recorded by any reputable organization. While there are birds that for one reason or another displaced, it is more likely due to owners that die and do not provide for their bird's care, as well as those that must give up their birds for personal reasons. Your assertion of impulse buying fails to hold its own, given that anyone that would buy a bird for several hundred dollar bird would most definitely return it to the store or breeder for a refund, since the majority of them offer a grace period for the purchase. For those that go beyond that, they can simply sell the bird, since there is a huge market for them.
Then you go straight into lying about caring for 30 parrots! Give me a break! You don't know anything about them, much less have the ability to properly care for one, much less 30 of them. The fact is, you know nothing about these birds, or any bird for that matter. Unlike you, I base my conclusions on facts, such as your lack of basic knowledge regarding any parrot, and you even signed in under a different user name to make it sound like you did. That is really pathetic, katie.
Posted by Ed  in  USA  on  Sun Jun 05, 2005  at  02:07 PM
As a neutral observer, I'd be more inclined to trust Katie on this one; Ed comes across as a bit unbalanced.
Posted by Ashley Pomeroy  on  Sat Aug 20, 2005  at  11:45 AM
I agree, Ashley. Katie's point of view is rather persuasive. I completely believe that she cares for these birds and has attained the knowledge. Ed's last post debated Katie's previous post, rather than defend his side of the controversy. He seems more apt to burning Katie's image than he is to the topic in question.

As far as my knowledge goes, macaws are most certainly an impulse buy in many cases. These enchanting parrots will entertain you with their talkative personalities, comical antics, and colorful plumage. Countless people are captivated by such a marvelous animal and feel they must own it without realizing the realities of caring for the bird.

"While there are birds that for one reason or another displaced, it is more likely due to owners that die and do not provide for their bird's care, as well as those that must give up their birds for personal reasons." *sigh* Go to any reputable exotic bird organization and I can guarantee most of the birds there are result of an unprepared/unaccomidating owner.

"I base my conclusions on facts, such as your lack of basic knowledge regarding any parrot" That, sir, is an assumption. Far from an actual fact. Indeed, the only facts you've posted on this topic were "there is no such thing as a 'Norwegian Blue' parrot" and "Macaws cost between $600 to more than $8000" Which, in truth, the Hyacinths can get up to $15000(depending on your area).

I'm not trying to begin a "bash fest", but as a once unbiased reader, this is what I see. Not that anyone asked, but I commented anyway.
Posted by Dana Mills  in  Pennsylvania  on  Tue Sep 13, 2005  at  11:06 AM
Talk about unbalanced. Katie has taken it upon herself to agree with her own post by signing in under two aliases that I have confirmed, and I have little doubt the last two are her work as well. So the only person you might be fooling here is yourself, Katie. Give it up, it is rather pathetic.

Anyone that knows the least amount about macaws, or any high dollar bird, would know that they are not impulse buys. In fact, the reality is just the opposite. Most people take weeks to make these purchases and even longer if they are working through a breeder. Few breeders would ever consider selling a bird to a person not completely aware of what they are getting into.

As the captivating nature of the bird. I have yet to see a single breeder or pet store that can mask over the screams, or the love for wood chewing these birds enjoy, so if you call the captivating, I bet you have some interesting choices in your life. This last post, most likely another Katie knock-off, shows the same lack of knowledge.

Here's the real facts. I know and work with numerous parrot rescues across the country, and even a couple in the UK. The primary reason for parrots that come to them are, birds that are re-homed due to a change in the owner's living situation, i.e., death, divorce, or addition of a child to the family. There are also those that were abused, usually due to a person receiving a bird from the first reason. They rarely, if ever, recieve birds due to the circumstances described by the katie chorus line. The reason is simple. If you buy a bird, and the bird doesn't work out. You take the bird back to the store.

So, Katie, and all your little aliases, the facts outweigh all that you claim. Simply reposting the same defeated story under another name doesn't make you look right, it makes you look pathetic. Grow up, get a life, and if you are going to make a statement, get your facts straight, not propaganda that you want to believe, get real facts. Lastly, when you are trying to pretend you are someone agreeing with yourself, try not to use the same speech patterns and spelling errors. That just makes it that much easier to see through your little scam. At least give me a challenge! C'mon! ROFLMAOAY!
Posted by Ed  in  USA  on  Thu Sep 15, 2005  at  09:58 PM
Actually, I took Ed's post with the good humor it deserved. I had thought about a scarlet macaw (yes, a rescued pet) for about a minute before I realized that, since I am nearly 50, I myself will have run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible long before said parrot would have started on the prime of its life.

Posted by L.T.  on  Tue Dec 06, 2005  at  12:34 PM
Excellent post, L.T., and possibly a good decision on your part. The one thing I would add is that no one knows when they are going to die, so you can't necessarily say that you or the bird will live for any set length of time. For instance, we bought a beautiful Med. Sulphur Cockatoo when she was just a year old, and she was with us for a wonderful year and a half when she died from a massive stroke. While her loss was an event that I still grieve now, almost two years since she passed away, I am thankful for the time I was able to spend with her, and she had a loving home that still remembers her to this day. We are not guaranteed anything, but I certainly would not want to miss the many moments I can share with our flock, as it is a wonderful experience for both humans and birds. My wife and I have set up exactly how our flock is to be cared for and by whom in our Wills, which is something anyone with a pet should do, even those that might not live as long. Who is to say that you might provide an excellent home to a Macaw that needs someone like you? As long as you consider what you are taking on, and if you are currently able to handle the bird, then take the time to set up what will be done in the event you die before the bird. You might just make the perfect home for a bird that needs one just like yours. On another note, what happened to Miss Multiple Personality 2005? I guess she is spending the holidays with herselves. LOL

Posted by Ed  in  USA  on  Tue Dec 06, 2005  at  01:33 PM
*chuckles* Check the IP Address, my friend. However, I'm not quite sure if this server will allow it. But I assure you, I am capable of acting upon my own thoughts- not those of the member whom I've merely agreed with.

I have nothing against you; I'm not quite sure why you're so defensive on the matter. It's a lighthearted debate, no worries.
Posted by Dana Mills  in  Manheim, PA  on  Fri Dec 23, 2005  at  07:48 AM
Maybe you have a problem understanding what is written here, but I am merely responding to the pathetic ramblings of the Katie clones. If you think responding to baseless claims is defensive, well, that is your take on it. You attack my point of view, which can be backed up by any expert in the field, and make the claim that your other personality "cares for these birds and has attained the knowledge". That makes it obvious that you are either here by her request, or just like "ashley", you are the same person as Katie.
The facts are against you, and it is simple to see that by simply getting information from a source other than PETA. I don't view the lives of these creatures as something fit for a "light-hearted debate", but it isn't surprising you would put such low regard on the discussion. I think you position is better described as weak-minded over light-hearted any day. Try finding some actual facts to support your case next time, if you can.
Posted by Ed  in  USA  on  Fri Dec 23, 2005  at  08:46 PM
Hey Ed, I happen to be taking care three macaws that people bought as an impulse purchase. I don't know the circles you run in but I know people who have gotten cars and even a house on a whim. For many people a few hundred dollars is looked at as "mad money". Wake up and smell the coffee mister.
Posted by Nancy  in  NC  on  Mon Oct 16, 2006  at  08:57 AM
It amazes my how far the anti-caged bird people are willing to go, and the lies they are willing to tell in order to push their views on others. Here is the real world for you:
I have a friend that operates a bird only pet shop, and they have on hand a number of Macaws, from mini macaws to Scarlet Macaws. They do NOT allow customers to make an uninformed, impulse buy when it comes to any bird. This is the way the majority of pet shops are run now. Even large chain stores educate before the sale, so you primary point is out the window there. You have no statistics to back up your points, and I can point to a number of studies that support mine. So stop your whining, which is all you people know how to do, and get a life. Just because you are too poor to own your own macaw, doesn't mean the rest of us have to not enjoy our life just because you can't. BTW, in the time this topic has gone on, we start breeding blue & golds, like our friend in this topic, and have sold 64 so far to very homes for $1500 a piece. We have also added 15 more birds to our flock, all in your honor.
Posted by Ed  in  USA  on  Sun Nov 12, 2006  at  11:28 PM
LOL! This is too funny. Obviously, Ed, you need to do some serious research. First of all, Macaws do tend to be impulse buys. Check with any parrot organization in the country. To many people they are a status symbol. It is so funny how far you are willing to go to try to bash someone, but you have no facts to back it up. We're not living in the 1800s when $1000 was a lot of money. Also, Ed, you sound like a kid trying to be an adult. If what you say is true about breeding birds, all I have to say is that's just wonderful, because those are more birds that we'll have to save due to uneducated owners. After 10yrs of animal rescue, which involved numerous birds, I am not uneducated in that field and I do NOT care what you say, but people will tell you anything you want to hear in order to get what they want. Good day to you, sir. May you one day wake up to realize just how ignorant you are.
Posted by Michelle  in  VA  on  Sun Feb 18, 2007  at  04:51 AM
The fact is, you did the same thing you accuse me of doing, post a message filled with personal attacks, but no facts. This is the real world, and the fact is $1000 to $12,000 is STILL a lot of money today. The majority of Americans live with high prices on everything from food to gas, and it does make sense that anyone would save money where they can everywhere else, and blow thousands to get a bird. But let's say someone does. It doesn't make them a bad home for the bird. I actually work with these birds, unlike any single one of those that come here to abuse me for doing so. I know how to care for them, and doing so for more than 100 birds on a daily basis. Currently we have in the neighborhood of about 10 to 15 macaws, and they all get excellent care now and even after they are sold. Our store discourages impulse buying, and it is rarely ever a problem. But if people listened to you, they would think that every person buying a macaw didn't know what they were getting. The fact is, a macaw is going to let you know from the start what you are getting, and people just aren't as stupid as you would like to believe they are.
Posted by Ed  on  Sun Feb 18, 2007  at  01:23 PM
WOW, alrighty then people. Have you read what you are writing? You sound like little kids bickering over whether or not Mac and Cheese is better then peanut butter and jelly.

"My friend Bob likes peanut butter and jelly, thus it is better."

"Well I have been eating Mac and Cheese for 10 years and it's always worked for me."

I don't mean to offend anyone, but you are both taking things to personal.

In the long run, what are you guys going to get out of this? Does it matter if Katie is right that most macaws are impulse buys or that Ed is right that people are educated?

Either way, many parrots are left with out a home. I think you both agree on that note. Agree on the bigger picture, and stop arguing. The world needs more people that love birds enough to argue about it,as well as more people that are mature enough to walk away from a pointless debate.

Now I'm sure you both have at least one companion parrot that would be very happy to have your attention, instead of you wasting said attention on a debate that neither of you are going to "win".

Take care,

"Facts and statistics are lovely things, the best thing about them... is that you can make them say anything you want."
Posted by Kia  in  USA  on  Sun Feb 18, 2007  at  02:19 PM
My point is not to "win", but it is to state the truth of the matter. I am not going to stand aside and not challenge the standard PETA line that the majority of macaws are sold as impulse buys, and that there are 1000's of macaws in some rescue out there because of this. It is simply untrue, and there hasn't been a single shred of proof given to support anything close to their claims. Instead, they resort to personal attacks against me, and yes, I take offense to that and will take issue with it. I have asked those that wish to claim anything against my points to simply prove their point. They can't do it, and attack me again, nothing more.

The fact here is, I own and have worked with large birds, including macaws, for many years. I know the market, both breeder and pet stores, and while there are problems, the majority of the market is better now than it was twenty years ago. It is rare for someone to buy a large bird these days without them doing some research to learn about the birds. In my experience I have seen no one buy a macaw and regret the purchase. They are wonderful birds and are great companions to those of us who care for them. That is the fact and the only truth on this thread. Lastly, it DOES matter. If we stand aside and let PETA form the public opinion, it is a matter of time before our rights will be a thing of the past. I for one have no intent of standing aside for that.
Posted by Ed  on  Sun Feb 18, 2007  at  03:56 PM
Wow, so many personal attacks going on here! I do agree with Ed though. Pet stores have come a long way in 20 yrs. What is so wrong about buying parrots and macaws? Most people who do buy them know what they are getting into. Macaws still cost a lot of money, and then their is their cage costs to consider. I'm not saying that impulse buys don't happen, but it seems pretty rare. Come on guys settle down though why is everyone getting so upset?
Posted by J.G  on  Sun Feb 18, 2007  at  11:52 PM
Personally, I am not, nor have I been, upset. I have had a few moments over the passed few months that I have been annoyed with the constant personal attacks without substance. I have hoped to hear some proof to the claims there are so many impulse buys of large or any size for that matter of macaws. I have not seen this happen in any location, nor have I seen a huge number of parrots in rescues as the result of impulse buying specifically. I am sure that it does happen, but not in large numbers, as was originally claimed. The average cost of a single macaw, with cage and accessory items range in price from $1500 to as much as $25,000, which most people would put a little thought into parting with before jumping into the deal. The majority of people I deal with everyday just need one look at those large beak and they are on to something else smaller and easier to work with. Those that stay with the macaws are people that have researched them and want one specifically. Are there exceptions, sure. But they are rare.
Posted by Ed  on  Mon Feb 19, 2007  at  10:12 AM
Alright Ed, I do respect how adamant you are in not letting this go.

I also agree with you that PETA is crazy a small group of crazy wackos and not a good resource at all, and that any companion bird can make an amazing pet for the right person. However, I've run into lots of sanctuaries (noted that this is a biased source) that back up the claim that the larger parrots (cockatoos and macaws mostly) are purchaced with little knowledge of the amount of care they take, not on impluse per se, but just without realizing what it means to own a large bird.

I'm all for having a companion bird, especially once you've done your homework and buy from a reputable breeder or shop. I've seen more birds that are happy and healthy as a companion parrot than I have seen obviously poorly cared for birds. The information about parrots is very impressive and the hightened awarness of proper parrot care has reduced the number of rescue and abandoned birds. (Indirect quote from "" pole "Are parrots good pets and from )

I will admit that I don't own a parrot myself. A friend of mine asked me to look at this from a debate stand point.
And I might note that in a formal debate, nobody here has provided a good argument yet. It takes solid statistics not personal experiences to sway people. And it seems to me that you are going off of personal experience more then anything else. All the statistics I came up with are old and out of date and/or unreliable. *shrugs* makes for a tough debate.

So in the light of my desire to make this a real debate Katie go to get some real facts and stats and "expert opinions".

Ed go to or any of thousands of websites that talk about macaw compatibility, check out some sanctuary websites.
Unfortunatly Ed, you have a tougher battle because the people that are against parrots as pets yell the loudest (probably due to their lack of real knowledge, ("those that don't know what they are talking about yell")). Best of luck.
Posted by Kia  in  USA  on  Mon Feb 19, 2007  at  10:27 AM
so what is the truth? Did churchill have a parrot? When did it die?
Posted by hope  in  usa  on  Mon Feb 19, 2007  at  07:09 PM
You are the first to post something to look into, and I will and respond soon. As for Winston's parrot, the family claims he didn't have one, and then some account say he did, but it was an African Grey. I think the fact is we may never really know for certain, since most of the people that might remember are very old or dead now. So the information is mostly second hand, but there are no written accounts, to my knowledge, that he ever had a parrot at all. From what I have read, he sounds more like a dog man, but who knows?
Posted by Ed  on  Mon Feb 19, 2007  at  11:11 PM
That's one thing I ran across in my research. Some people also claim that he actually owned an Amazon parrot. I shall look into this one. It would be a shame if this whole debate shouldn't have even begun on macaws, cause Churchill actually had a parakeet or the like... that would be somethin'.


Posted by Kia  on  Tue Feb 20, 2007  at  09:20 AM
Yes, the original story was about a Blue & Gold Macaw that was alledged to have been Churchill's bird. The first message was talking about how macaws are lousy companions. Some of my best friends are macaws, and so I naturally took offense to that remark. She started posting under different names, so it was hard to no who I was talking with. I have no doubt another clone will take her place in the line.
Posted by Ed  on  Tue Feb 20, 2007  at  09:38 AM
Well, I found a segment done on Charlie by NPR. The Churchill family never denied that there was a macaw owned by Winston but nobody alive recalls there being a parrot ever. The lady who works with Charlie now met with some people that claimed to have delivered the bird to Winston Churchill but that has yet to be proven by anyone.

The history has a write up that historians have dismissed the claim,

"Judith Seaward, marketing manager at Chartwell, said: "We really looked and looked and know he had a budgerigar and all sorts of other animals.

"He loved animals, he had dogs, cats, pigs - but there's no record of a parrot. "

That's what I got.

Posted by Kia  in  USA  on  Tue Feb 20, 2007  at  09:43 AM
$100 dollars as throw a way money. Who do you know that can do that. I know I can't. shoot, I can't even throw away $20. I believe most people don't relize what they are getting into when the buy parrots. Most pet stores don't tell buyers that these birds can be load or even out live them. I did my research before I bought a quaker. I new what I was getting into. And I wouldn't think of living with out my two quakers.
Posted by Dee-Dee  in  florida  on  Wed Feb 21, 2007  at  12:53 AM
Most people that I encounter have done research prior to coming into our shop. For the few that don't, I always give the good, bad, and the ugly speech, and never encourage a macaw as a first bird. Even the store owner, who gives far less info than I do, does tell customers about their potential for noise and destruction. I have never seen a store yet that encourages the sale of a macaw to a first time buyer, but I am sure there is a small percentage of them. Just not the number some would what us to believe. When my wife and I were first starting out, we researched everything. We still do if it is something we are not sure about. It is common sense, as is not throwing money down the drain.
Posted by Ed  on  Thu Feb 22, 2007  at  10:01 AM
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