Top News

VIDEO: Meet Gabby, a Congo African gray parrot from Glace Bay


GLACE BAY, N.S. —

A new Cape Breton resident is building quite a fan base.

Gabby is a seven-month-old Congo African gray parrot from Glace Bay who goes everywhere.

“She loves going out for walks,” said Nicole Campbell, who owns the parrot along with husband Joel Campbell. “She just sits on our shoulder and watches everything, observing what’s going on.”

Nicole Campbell and her husband Joel Campbell on an outing with their Congo African gray parrot Gabby at the John Bernard Croak Memorial Park in Glace Bay. The couple take Gabby with them wherever they go and the bird has been building a fan base in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and on social media. - Sharon Montgomery-Dupe
Nicole Campbell and her husband Joel Campbell on an outing with their Congo African gray parrot Gabby at the John Bernard Croak Memorial Park in Glace Bay. The couple take Gabby with them wherever they go and the bird has been building a fan base in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and on social media. - Sharon Montgomery-Dupe

People have been commenting on social media seeing the parrot accompanying her owners regardless of where they go, including trips to Halifax.

“We went to Halifax to purchase a vehicle, she came with us and we all stayed at an Airbnb,” Nicole said. “Even on the car ride, she’d just sit on our shoulder. She was fine with it.”

The couple had purchased a harness for their parrot. It does take time to train a bird on one, but Gabby has adapted. A safety band around one of the owner's wrists prevents any chance of her flying off.

Gabby, a Congo African gray parrot, getting ready for bed. - Sharon Montgomery-Dupe
Gabby, a Congo African gray parrot, getting ready for bed. - Sharon Montgomery-Dupe

Although still a baby, Gabby has been getting used to making new friends rather fast, but it’s not like she doesn’t have time. The birds can live until they are 80-90-years old.

“We walk her even through town in Glace Bay and Renwick Brook,” Nicole said. “The more we take her out the more comfortable she gets."

They often walk in other areas of the municipality as well, including the Sydney boardwalk.

“People stop us, amazed as she is just sitting there on our shoulder,” Nicole added.

People have been reporting sightings of Gabby on social media and in conversation.

“I saw Gabby on the Sydney Boardwalk,” said Sandra White of North Sydney. “I’ve never seen a bird on a leash before. She’s really good and her owners are so nice." 

Nicole Campbell and her husband Joel Campbell relaxing with their Congo African gray parrot Gabby at the John Bernard Croak Memorial Park in Glace Bay. The couple take Gabby with them wherever they go and the bird has been catching attention on their outings and on social media. - Contributed
Nicole Campbell and her husband Joel Campbell relaxing with their Congo African gray parrot Gabby at the John Bernard Croak Memorial Park in Glace Bay. The couple take Gabby with them wherever they go and the bird has been catching attention on their outings and on social media. - Contributed

The couple purchased Gabby from a breeder in Manitoba. The parrot arrived in Nova Scotia just in time.

“She got here in March, just before they shut everything down because of COVID,” Nicole said. Employed at AJ's Country Boarding and Kennels in Port Morien, Nicole was laid off because kennels had to close at that time. Nicole’s husband Joel is a VON nurse, so Gabby has been great company as well.

“She became our entertainment really,” Nicole said.

Joel named their parrot and appropriately so. Although these parrots normally don’t start talking until they are at least a year to a year-and-a-half old, Gabby has already begun to build a vocabulary, saying ‘peek-a-boo,’ and ‘Oh oh.’ When they get older, they can say up to 5,000 words. 

Gabby, a seven-month-old Congo African gray parrot, at Renwick Brook in Glace Bay with owner Nicole Campbell. Nicole said parrots usually don’t start talking until they are at least a year old, but Gabby can already say a few words. - Contributed
Gabby, a seven-month-old Congo African gray parrot, at Renwick Brook in Glace Bay with owner Nicole Campbell. Nicole said parrots usually don’t start talking until they are at least a year old, but Gabby can already say a few words. - Contributed

Gabby loves the Snow White and Seven Dwarfs song, ‘Heigh-Ho,’ has taken a liking to Patsy Cline tunes and gets excited and sings along when they play a version of Bobby McFerrin's hit song, ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy.’

It’s not only people Gabby has been bonding with. The couple also has a miniature pinscher Susan and the two have become close pals.

“Gabby will walk around the floor with him, it’s so cute,” Nicole said.

When outside by their pool, Gabby will join the family in her travel cage.

“The dog will sit beside Gabby when she’s out there and keep an eye on her,” Nicole added. “It’s really funny.”

Gabby, a Congo African gray parrot, and miniature pinscher Susan, at their home in Glace Bay, checking out what’s going on outside. - Contributed
Gabby, a Congo African gray parrot, and miniature pinscher Susan, at their home in Glace Bay, checking out what’s going on outside. - Contributed

Most of the time, Gabby is freely roaming the house and even has her own play area with toys. Supper time usually means time out in her cage. They’ve discovered Gabby likes to steal food — it’s not uncommon for her to grab something off their dinner plates and fly off with it.

“There is not too much food that bird will not eat,” Nicole said laughing. “If we were having pasta right now, she’d be all over that.”

According to National Geographic’s website, the African gray is among the smartest birds in the world and the greatest mimic of human speech among the 350 or so known parrot species. Research has shown that the birds possess cognitive skills equal to that of a five-year-old child.

Gabby enjoying a dandelion snack at her home in Glace Bay.  - Contributed
Gabby enjoying a dandelion snack at her home in Glace Bay. - Contributed

Gabby, a Congo African gray parrot, and miniature pinscher Susan, sharing some snacks with owner Joel Campbell at their home in Glace Bay. - Contributed
Gabby, a Congo African gray parrot, and miniature pinscher Susan, sharing some snacks with owner Joel Campbell at their home in Glace Bay. - Contributed

Joel Campbell of Glace Bay and his Congo African gray parrot Gabby at Wendy’s in Sydney. - Contributed
Joel Campbell of Glace Bay and his Congo African gray parrot Gabby at Wendy’s in Sydney. - Contributed

Did this story inform or enhance your perspective on this subject?
1 being least likely, and 10 being most likely

Recent Stories