HE’S always eager to lend his voice to a rendition of “Glory, Glory to the Hibees”, but on match days he is forced to squawk alone.
African Grey parrot Koko has been a fixture at Dofos Pet Centre on London Road for the past 29 years, since his owner Irene Thomson, 70, fell in love with his energetic dancing and decided not to put him up for sale.
Since then he has entertained the whole family, and generations of customers, many of whom have begged to buy him after hearing his colourful chat and his enthusiastic singing of his favourite team’s anthem.
Irene’s daughter Denise Davidson, 49, who now runs the family business, said: “When African Greys learn something they will then always say it in the voice of the person who taught it to them, so it wasn’t hard to work out that it was my mum who taught him the Hibs anthem. He also likes to shout out ‘Hibees’.
“She probably did it to wind up my dad, Jimmy, who is a Rangers fan. Everyone else in the family supports Hibs.”
The recent warmer weather has seen Koko sunning himself outside the shop, but the family don’t dare leave him out there on match days in case some football fans don’t see the funny side of his musical nature.
“We wouldn’t want to risk someone getting upset, and he is quite a mischievous bird,” said Denise. “He’s quite fond of wolf-whistling at people when they walk past, which has led to the occasional misunderstanding.
“He likes doing the Jerry Springer chant, and he’s learned some colourful put-downs from the show. He’s always loved dancing too, he’ll jump around on his perch very energetically.”
And the cheeky bird also enjoys winding up other members of the animal kingdom, mimicking the family’s Staffordshire Bull Terrier Kali’s owner to repeatedly call her.
“She’ll come tearing through, and you can see the confusion on her face,” said Denise.
But as word of his special talents spread, Koko could find a more receptive audience. Mike Riley, chairman of the Hibs Supporters Association, said: “That’s unbelievable, absolutely first class. We should get him down to the Hibs Supporters Club and he can do a turn for us on stage.”
Koko isn’t the first local parrot with a penchant for football songs. In August last year a West Lothian pensioner failed to have her neighbours evicted over claims their parrot was too loud and sang sectarian songs.
Livingston Sheriff Court ruled there was no case to answer over claims residents had been subjected to “sectarian ramblings”, including renditions of The Sash, by Mary Smilie’s parrot Rio, also an African Grey.
The news comes just a day after it was revealed that a cheeky Lothians parrot has been ruining its owner’s love life by attacking any men in her house.
You’ll never squawk alone
KOKO has built up quite an extensive repertoire over the past 29 years.
As well as singing Glory, Glory to the Hibees, he is also known to belt out Jingle Bells, Happy Birthday, Humpty Dumpty and One, two, three, four, five, Once I Caught a Fish Alive.
He also likes to squawk “Hibees!” and the “Jerry! Jerry!” chant from The Jerry Springer Show, where it’s believed he also picked up colourful phrases such as “Whatever, b***h!”
And despite being smart enough to count up to ten and back down again, he seems to be slightly confused over who runs the pet shop he calls home.
Denise explained: “I have a 21-year-old son called Ross, and Koko often shouts out “Ross is the boss!” He says it in my son’s voice, so no prizes for guessing who taught him that.”