T he Pember Library and Museum is throwing a birthday party for one of its most beloved guests and the public is invited to join in on the fun.
A 30th birthday party will be held from noon to 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 24, in honor of Barnyard the parrot.
Barnyard will be in attendance as will several of her closest friends.
Bernadette Hoffman, museum educator and Barnyard’s owner, said the party will be an opportunity for local residents, particularly children, to meet her. Hoffman said she occasionally brings Barnyard to the museum, but it’s typically during the week, when many patrons don’t have the opportunity to stop by.
“It’s a way for people to come and see her,” Hoffman said. “Kids love her. “
When Barnyard came into Hoffman’s life three years ago, she was suffering from a sort of identity crisis.
“I was told she was a boy and then the day after Thanksgiving she laid eggs,” Hoffman said.
As if the gender mix up wasn’t enough, Barnyard’s actual age is a bit of mystery.
“I was told she was in her teens, but I later found out that she was probably in her late 20s,” Hoffman said.
Hoffman estimates Barnyard, who also goes by Burt, Burtha, Burta and Birtie, is about 30 years old. For her part, Barnyard has been mum on her age, although she is otherwise quite chatty.
“She has a very extensive vocabulary,” Hoffman said.
Barnyard is a yellow-naped Amazon parrot, a species distinguished by its green forehead and crown and a yellow blaze across the back of its neck. A typical adult is roughly 12 to 15 inches long and weighs about a pound.
In the wild, the bird is found along the Pacific coast from southern Mexico south to northern Costa Rica, although deforestation has decreased the bird’s habitat.
The bird has become a popular pet due to its ability to mimic sounds, including human speech, and its playful personality.
“You need to talk to them all the time. They are very social animals,” Hoffman said.
Remarkably, Barnyard is only now reaching middle age. Hoffman said a yellow-naped parrot’s life expectancy is between 50 and 80 years and some have lived as long as 100 years.
Barnyard won’t be the only bird in attendance on Saturday. Hoffman plans to bring along an Igor, the ringed Barbary dove, and if all goes as planned a number of parrots from the Ashville Game Farm will attend as well.
During the party there will also be a slideshow that shows the different parrots of the world and a plush toy parrot will be given away as a door prize. There will also be a large sheet cake.
Besides a chance to celebrate Barnyard’s birthday, the party is meant to bring people in the Pember.
“I’m throwing this party to not only celebrate her birthday but to give back to the Pember,” Hoffman said.
In lieu of gifts, she is encouraging people to make a donation to the museum.
“It’s my way of giving back to the Pember,” Hoffman said. “Every little bit helps.”
Anyone who plans to attend is encouraged to RSVP at 642-1515.