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Ed Menzenksi — the La Grange man widely known as “Birdman” by strangers who spot him on the streets with his pet parrot, Toby — is flying the coop.
Almost daily, the pair can be seen strolling through downtown La Grange.
On Monday afternoon, Menzenski and Toby took one of their final walks around the city before they migrate this week to their new home in Bullitt County to be closer to Menzenski’s daughter.
Toby largely concealed herself in the 60-year-old’s sweater, occasionally peeking out to survey the landscape around the courthouse square.
“We’ll miss our walks around the square and all the people who honked and waved,” Menzenski said. “But we’ll start a new walking routine in our new neighborhood and hope to encounter as many friendly people as we did here. We really enjoyed La Grange over the past 11 years, but family obligations bring on the move.”
What does Toby think about the transition?
It’s hard to say.
The parrot’s speech is mostly unintelligible, although Menzenski said she perfectly mimics the squeaking wheels of trains, which often rumble past her perch on the back deck of the Menzenski’s historic Sixth Street home.
Menzenski’s White-bellied Caique (pronounced ki-EEK), is native to the Amazon basin of South America. The brightly-colored breed typically spends most of its time in the canopy of trees. But Toby has spent more time atop Menzenski’s shoulder, since he acquired her from a Nelson County breeder seven years ago.
When Menzenski initially told his wife, Donna, he wanted the bird, she wasn’t very supportive.
“But she went along with the decision,” he said.
Donna has since warmed up to their feathered friend — sort of.
“Oh, she’s a part of the family,” Donna said. “But she’s annoying as having a 2-year-old tugging at your shirttail.”
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