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Turkish Man, Pet Parrot Gear Up for Mecca Pilgrimage

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Pasha, a pet grey African parrot, is all set to perform Umrah -- a minor Islamic pilgrimage -- on his first trip to Mecca while perched on the shoulder of his middle-aged owner from central Turkey.

Kuddusi Issi, who sells dried nuts from his shop in Nigde, told Anadolu Agency he and his inseparable bird have their plans set.

As wild as the idea may sound, Issi said it was only natural for him to perform the pilgrimage this November with his most favorite bird in the world.

"Pasha cannot stay separated from me," he explained.

All necessary official documents to bring along Pasha to Islam’s holiest site in Mecca were complete, he said.

Speaking of his pet’s devotion to him, Issi said Pasha, which means general in Turkish, does not even eat if he is not there to feed it.

"It eats only what I give [food] to it...Although it stays in a dried nuts shop, it does not eat on its own," the shop owner said of his grey bird that sports a long, red tail.

Sometimes I feed Pasha by giving it food from my own mouth, he said.

"If I go away from the shop, it stops being happy, it eats nothing and it does not even sing.

“But if it sees me, it does everything.

"These kinds of parrots are addicted to their owners and they fall in love with that person," Issi said.

Pasha is so loyal that it cannot even stand my grandchild, Issi said.

In fact, the pet parrot even has a name for its owner: Cici Baba that means 'pretty father' in Turkish.

About the talents of his feathered friend, he said Pasha was an expert at mimicking various voices and can even speak hundreds of words.

"It can currently speak 400 words. It can even mimic voices of the telephone, vehicle, crying, a cat, a dog, [other] birds and sheep," Issi said.

But just like its owner, Pasha can so far communicate only in Turkish, though it does say "bye bye" to customers who drop by the shop.

When it is not sharpening up its vocabulary, Pasha in its free time likes to relax and watch TV like most people, and it especially enjoys the news, Issi added.

Pasha may end up even living longer than its owner.

It was just 70 days old when Issi bought him. It turned three recently, which is still quite young for its species who were known to live sometimes for more than half-a-century.

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