The-600-Dollar-Bird-Header

Two kids, one dog, and Dad’s expensive, beloved parrot.

Shelsea used to own a finch. She didn’t want him to be alone, so Ken and Sethea agreed to buy him a friend. They didn’t realized they had bought a female, and the finches ended up having six babies. So Ken, Sethea, and Shelsea took the babies to the pet store to give them away. They hadn’t planned on buying anything else while they were there, but Ken was intrigued by a really unique bird. It was a small, beautiful parrot that the pet store owners had fed by hand and held every single day.

Ken was hooked.

So he brought all the kids back to the store to see if the bird would take to them. The kids and the parrot got along well, so they bought the bird for $600, got him a cage, and brought him home.

They named him Skittles.

Skittles became very attached to Ken—and Ken to Skittles. The parrot would sit on his shoulder, walk down his arm, and perch himself on Ken’s desk. He was a sweet and beautiful bird.

About five days after they got Skittles, Ken and Sethea were out to dinner with some friends when they got a frantic phone call.

“Dad, we have bad news,” Seth said.

“What’s that?”

“The dog ate the bird!”

Seth was chasing Puck around the house, and Shelsea was screaming as feathers flew everywhere. Shanel shouted from the top of the stairs, “The dog just ate the $600 bird! Dad’s going to be furious!”

The story Seth told his parents went like this: He had brought dinner home for himself and Shelsea, who was playing with Skittles. He told her she should put the bird away so they could eat, but before she could put him in his cage, Skittles took flight. Puck, their black lab, jumped into the den and snatched Skittles!

Ken was really sad about losing Skittles, and he shed a few tears at dinner. Shelsea cried as she realized it was her job to pick up the dog’s poop, and she would have to find what was left of poor Skittles. Sure enough, a few days later she found the tag from Skittles’ foot in the backyard.

Truth be told, Skittles didn’t fly into the den that feather-filled night. Puck had an electric collar that kept him from going into certain rooms of the house. Seth had been teasing Puck and put Skittles right in front of the dog’s face … which didn’t end well for anyone. Seth knew his dad would be upset, and he didn’t know how to tell him. So he made Shelsea promise to stick with his story.

About a year and a half later, though, Shelsea came clean to Sethea and told her the truth. She tried to make her mom promise not to say anything, but Sethea wasn’t going to let Seth off that easily!

Skittles’ early demise is one of those stories that has become funny over the years, though at the time, it was a sad end for the family’s feathery friend.

The bird stories didn’t end there. Ken bought another parrot that was very similar to Skittles except it had a bent beak. It was cheaper, but it was also mean! Sethea made Ken take it back to the pet store, and then she explained to the owners what had happened to Skittles and insisted that they take the bird back. They did.

Eventually, Ken had another bird flown in from Texas. It was a Solomon’s Collective Parrot, so they named him Solomon, or Solly for short. As Ken was driving home from the airport with Solly, he squawked so loudly that Ken almost drove off the road! The family loved Solly, but he was incredibly loud—so loud that he lived in his cage in the backyard.