LARGO — The parrot that kept calling for "Larry" was reunited with her family Friday.
But Larry didn't come to pick up the lost bird. Carol Nephew and her daughter, Alissa, did.
Turns out Larry was the one who raised the parrot, an African gray, said Carol Nephew, the bird's owner for the last decade.
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Tampa Bay rescued the bird 10 days ago after it got a call about a bird strolling down a Largo sidewalk.
"I just know he was trying to come home," said Alissa Nephew, 21, who lives in Palm Harbor.
The Nephews said a friend who lives in Largo had been watching the parrot and, somehow, she got out.
Staffers at the SPCA said the bird kept saying Charlie, too.
There's a good reason: That's her name.
The Nephews thought Charlie was a male until they found an egg at the bottom of the cage about a year or two ago, they said.
Veterinarian Joel Murphy of the Animal & Bird Medical Center in Palm Harbor said African grays don't just mimic. Research shows they may have about the same intelligence as a dolphin, the bird specialist said.
Melissa Gray, SPCA lost-and-found coordinator, said she got hundreds of calls about Charlie, but the Nephews seemed to know the most details.
Shortly after Alissa Nephew rushed to greet the parrot, Charlie climbed onto a wooden perch and began whistling.
The parrot shimmied back and forth atop her cage as Alissa Nephew whistled for her.
"I missed you," she said. "There's no one else to whistle to."
Lorri Helfand can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4155.