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African Grey Parrot Shows Talent For Making Custom Christmas Decorations

OJAI (CBSLA) — An African grey parrot living at the Humane Society of Ventura County in Ojai turns out to have a talent perfect for this time of year – making paper snowflakes ideal for decorating a Christmas tree.

Smokey snowflakes
(credit: Humane Society of Ventura County)

Smokey, who has been living at the Ojai facility for about a year, has always loved to shred paper, according to adoption counselor Josephine Maxson.

Maxson said she had taken notice of Smokey's penchant for paper when she had cleaned out his cage and noticed an artistic look to the shreds.

"I had been asked to make snowflakes one day for a little Christmas project and I looked over at Smokey and how he likes to shred paper, and I decided to let him try," she said. "He just took off with it."

African grey parrots like Smokey are known to be highly intelligent, with vocabularies exceeding 100 words and cognitive performances not unlike a pre-kindergartener, according to the Humane Society of Ventura County. Maxson says Smokey in particular can say his name and ask to be taken for a walk, mimic sounds like a phone ringing, a dog barking, and the theme song to "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly."

Humane Society of Ventura County in Ojai, Calif., Monday, Dec. 16, 2019. (Greg A. Cooper/© HSVC 2019)

Smokey lives in a large cage in the Humane Society of Ventura County's lobby, where his one-of-a-kind snowflakes snow adorn the Christmas tree.

"They're just so cute and each one is unique and different, and I think they really display Smokey's moods," Maxson said.

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