A talkative Midwood parrot has been missing since mid-March, and his devastated human is offering a large cash reward for information or his safe return.
Loki, a 3.5-year-old African Grey parrot, was the resident avian at Coldwell Banker-LaBarca Real Estate on Avenue M. He belongs to real estate agent Barbara LaBarca, who’s had him since he was only 8 weeks old, and is beloved by her colleagues at the office and by community residents.
“He was like the mascot of my office and the neighborhood,” LaBarca said. “Everybody knew Loki.”
LaBarca told Brooklyn Paper that Loki, who loves to fly around and rarely spent time in his cage except to sleep, escaped from the office on March 15.
“We are very heartbroken,” she said. “Even the neighborhood, every day, someone’s at the office, ‘did you find Loki? Any word of Loki?’ All the kids that pass spend an hour in front of the window with Loki.”
LaBarca said it’s not like Loki to fly the coop.
“He always hung out by the door, always opened the door but he never flew away,” she said. “But something startled him, and he flew to the top of the door. He tried to get in, couldn’t get in, and then landed on the top of the door. Then when I went to get him, I got a chair to get him, he just took off. Which is very surprising because Loki was always at the door.”
The pet owner and her staff at the real estate office have since plastered the neighborhood with missing posters, and post about Loki on Facebook and other sites on a frequent basis. She said that she’s also given the poster to every pet shop and veterinarian in the area to keep tabs in case he shows up. She is offering a $7,000 reward for Loki’s safe return.
African Greys are some of the smartest birds on the planet, and are well known for their ability to mimic human speech and other sounds.
“He does say ‘Coldwell Banker,’ the name of my company,” LaBarca said. “He says ‘cheese,’ ‘water,’ ‘let me out,’ ‘gotta go see daddy.’ He does laser beam sounds, he says, ‘time to go to sleep.’ So many things.”
He is friendly and trusting of strangers owing to the fact that he meets so many people in LaBarca’s office. LaBarca said that if he encounters strangers he may even try to talk to them.
“He would be friendly,” LaBarca said. “If he flew down near someone he would ask them for water or cheese if he was hungry or thirsty.”
While it’s not every day that one sees an African Grey parrot on the street, Loki can be distinguished by his red tail (though this is a common trait in African Greys), and by a numbered metal band he has on his leg.
LaBarca says that if Loki is safely returned to her, she would even be happy to buy the bird bandit an African Grey of their own, so they can experience their love firsthand.
“If someone has Loki, I would ask them to please return Loki,” she said. “I would be willing to buy them another one, a baby so that that bird will grow to love them the way Loki loves us.”
“African Greys really take to one owner, and they do get depressed later if that owner’s not with them.”
Anyone with information on Loki’s whereabouts is encouraged to contact Barbara LaBarca at (718) 258-1222 or (347) 512-4635.