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A cry for help ruffles feathers

 I heard about this on CBC last night, and Luna actually said a few words into the phone. I hope nothing like this happens to me, as Mitri has a shrill human-like scream. The neighbours do know about him, though.


I looked after an Umbrella Cockatoo for a couple of weeks last year. She was a smart, sweet bird, but they really are very high-maintenance pets.  Here is her photo. She would run towards the cell phone and say, “Allo,” whenever it rang. So of course that meant I had to waste a lot of time playing “phone” with her, by putting my cell in different places and getting it to ring.


A cry for help ruffles feathers

Police rush to Trenton home only to find a noisy cockatoo

Friday, September 05, 2008


“Help me! Help me!”

Police officers called to a South Trenton home Wednesday morning clearly heard what they thought was a female voice calling out for assistance.

Nobody answered the front door, and with seconds ticking away, and a dog barking inside the house, a sergeant ordered officers to kick in the door of the Centre Street home at about 9:50 a.m.

With their guns drawn, officers searched room-by-room and found no humans in distress, but they continued to hear the pleas for help.

In a first floor bedroom, they figured out the mystery: a caged bird, a cockatoo, that was repeatedly saying, “Help me! Help me!”

After police officers figured out there was no alarm, and that they and the 911 callers had been duped, the bird, whose name is Luna, eventually introduced herself with a simple “Hello.”

Luna had struck again, owner Evelyn DeLeon said yesterday.

Her 10-year-old blue-eyed umbrella cockatoo has twice now summoned police to the family’s home and provided the family with some interesting moments over the years with her ever-expanding vocabulary.

About seven years ago, Luna, named for the moon, cried all day, imitating a baby, DeLeon said. Neighbors who heard the cries for hours suspected someone left a baby home alone and called police, who brought the Division of Youth and Family Services with them.

No harmed children, just Luna expressing herself.
“They all laughed,” DeLeon said yesterday of the officers on that call. “But we never thought this was going to happen again.”

DeLeon said Luna learned “Help me!” years ago as a joke. “And I never thought she would use that again.”

“They all laughed,” DeLeon said yesterday of the officers on that call. “But we never thought this was going to happen again.”

DeLeon said Luna learned “Help me!” years ago as a joke. “And I never thought she would use that again.”

Luna often rides on DeLeon’s shoulder when she walks to corner stores, and loves to watch television, where she picks up sounds and words.

She often responds to the telephone ringing with, “Hello.”

But she also has a sultry, drawn out, “Helloooo,” that has tricked many a man in public, who often think DeLeon is coming on to them. “I tell them I’m not the one talking,” DeLeon said.

Over the years, Luna has become bilingual, saying “Hola,” to Spanish speakers, and has picked up some street slang with “Yo,” while sometimes using the more straightforward “Hello” to others.

Yesterday, a Times reporter attempted an interview with Luna, but she was not in a chatty mood, only mustering a “Hello,” and repeating her name several times.

Luna is sneaky as she is gabby, her owner said.

Years ago, the DeLeons came home from a weekend in Atlantic City and Luna was sitting on a rocking chair, watching television. She had somehow managed to turn on the TV.

Yesterday’s commotion started when two clients of DeLeon’s husband’s driving school, which he runs from the family home, came to the front door without an appointment and knocked, then heard Luna saying, “Help me! Help me!”

They called police, who got to the house and called an ambulance and the fire department to respond, not knowing what they would find inside.

After DeLeon arrived home, police officials arranged for the city’s public works department to repair her front door, which DeLeon was pleased with. She understands why they broke into her home.

“You don’t know what I’ve gone through in the last 10 years,” DeLeon said with a happy sigh. “Oh, Luna.”

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