110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
Bibi the Parrot on tour to meet her biggest fans
By Sam McIntire
posted Jun 16, 2014 - 5:20:06pm
A celebrity visited DeLand June 11.
Bibi the African grey parrot and her caretakers made a stop in DeLand as part of their “Road Trip With Bibi” national tour.
A prime reason for the DeLand stop was to meet one of Bibi’s biggest fans, DeLand resident Billie Jo Harder.
Harder is a longtime follower of Bibi’s websites and a moderator in Bibi’s live-stream chat, but had never met the bird.
“I’ve waited six years for this,” Harder said at FloridaWild Veterinary Hospital, Bibi’s first stop in DeLand.
Dr. Erin Holder hosted a tour of FloridaWild. She and the staff were careful to keep a calm, professional demeanor to keep Bibi comfortable during her visit, as the African grey can be an irritable breed of parrot.
Bibi, who lives in the Midwest, gained attention early in her life when videos were posted online displaying her linguistic abilities.
As the video collection grew, Bibi acquired a sizable fan base that stretches across the United States and into several other countries.
Bibi knows well more than 500 words, and is able to arrange them into sentences and compound words. She also is able to give commands to dogs and understand if her orders have been followed, her handlers said.
Bibi also recently began learning to spell words, and has learned “bird” and “dog.”
“Bibi is only 6 years old, but knows countless words and phrases. We stopped counting after 500 or more. She knows the names of all of her family members, including another African grey, Gracie, and each of our two dogs and two cats,” according to her website.
Bibi’s distinct personality also added to her online popularity. She is often demanding, asking to have some of what anyone else around her is eating. If she doesn’t feel she’s getting enough attention, she will shout “Hello!” and she did so shortly after being released from her carrier inside FloridaWild.
“She’s 100 percent the leader of the flock, and a true diva,” Harder said.
Harder moderates Bibi’s chat using the name GrannieBillie. Though Bibi and Harder had never encountered each other in person, Harder is a prominent-enough figure at a long distance to be a friend of Bibi’s caretakers.
En route to DeLand, her handlers said, Bibi kept saying, “Go road trip. Go see Grannie.”
Harder isn’t the only fan Bibi plans to visit. The “Road Trip With Bibi” is set to stop in many other towns in many other states to meet and greet more of Bibi’s most-avid followers.
After the visit to FloridaWild and a stop at Skydive DeLand on the DeLand Municipal Airport, the entourage was headed to Venice, Florida.
Information about Bibi and a link to her Ustream can be found online at Bibisteps.com.
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