Bird Brainiac

Published: Dec 8, 2022

Elle Kreiner sits and talks while Chicken, an amazon parrot, preens himself
Elle Kreiner and Chicken. (Marlayna Demond '11/UMBC)
Elle Kreiner with Chicken the parrot (mostly green bird with a yellow crown on his head) stand in front of the public policy building
Elle Kreiner and Chicken. (Marlayna Demond ’11/UMBC)

At UMBC, we welcome Retrievers of all stripes… and feathers. Spotted on campus recently enjoying student life is an 87-year-old yellow crowned amazon parrot named Chicken. Yes, you read that right, Chicken

Elle Kreiner ’20, anthropology, a current master’s student in applied sociology, rescued the bird in 2017 after his long-term caretaker passed away and the family wasn’t able to keep him. Despite coming to campus to spread his wings (metaphorically—Chicken doesn’t enjoy flying), Kreiner doesn’t believe their parrot would make a great student, although he does speak three languages. 

Prior to his time with Kreiner, Chicken lived in pre–World War II Germany and then spent most of his years in Florida. As a result, he is prone to colorful language in German, Spanish, and English, says Kreiner, but his favorite word? “Definitely ‘cracker.’” 

“If I had to personify him, he’d be a really old crotchety professor, who should have retired 20 years ago but is still here because everyone likes him,” says Kreiner. Like many octogenarians, Chicken doesn’t enjoy the cold, so if you see him on campus on a sunny day, be sure to say Guten Tag!

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