Blue Bird

UPDATED 08/14/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 08/14/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT

Sometimes Flounder says, "I love you." Sometimes he says, "Gimme a kiss." And sometimes he says things that are entirely inappropriate for man or bird—at least in a family magazine. That's why the Humane Society of Charlotte, N.C., won't put the 5-year-old Flounder up for adoption. "We just wouldn't want someone to adopt him and then tell people they got him from us," says Patti Lewis, the Society's president.

Flounder's repertoire of vileness, which also includes rude sound effects, got him written up in the local paper, and soon people were calling from all over the world to ask about the foulmouthed parrot. There's just one thing: Flounder isn't a $#@! parrot! He's a member of the family Loriidae, nectar-eating natives of the South China Sea region. "Lories," says Kim Baker, who breeds them in Iron Station, N.C., "are the clowns of birds. They're very uninhibited."

The Humane Society got Flounder last fall after his owner decided he couldn't care for the bird, which he and four friends bought while they were still in college. "They named him for the character in Animal House," says Catherine Page, the Society's development director. "They thought it was cute to teach him to cuss and to make a noise like someone passing gas, but it got old after a while." Now that he's a celebrity of sorts (he even has a line of T-shirts in the works), Flounder does serve a purpose—other than insulting passers by. "He's our poster boy," says Page, "for what you don't want to let a bird do."

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