Thanks to a question from the public, I got to investigate the origin story of Chicago’s wild parrot population for WBEZ’s Curious City.
Chicago residents told me the following:
- A University of Chicago experiment went awry and the birds escaped
- The birds escaped from a holding pen at O’Hare
- A truck on its way to a pet store overturned and let the parrots loose
- The government put them here
- They stowed away in ships and flew out at ports like Calumet
Those urban legends are fun — but we needed an expert. Lucky for us, University of Chicago’s Dr. Pruett-Jones ( no, not that Dr. Jones) had some answers for us…
And as promised, there’s a pirate joke.