March 24, 2009

Parrot honored for saving toddler

A pet parrot was honored with the Colorado Red Cross' Animal Lifesaver Award after it alerted a babysitter that a baby was choking.

Willie the parrot, owned by Megan Howard, was given the award at a ceremony Friday that was also attended by Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and other Red Cross honorees -- which except for Willie were all human, KCNC-TV, Denver, reported Tuesday.

Howard said she had brought Willie with her while she was babysitting for toddler Hannah Kuusk in November. She said she had went to the bathroom while the child was eating breakfast and heard Willie repeatedly shout: Mama, baby!

The babysitter said she found Hannah was choking on her breakfast and had begun to turn blue. She performed the Heimlich maneuver and cleared the toddler's airway.

He's kind of small and he's just a bird but he's in there with all of these people that have gone above and beyond just to save people's lives and it's an honor to be in there and know he's recognized for what he did, Howard said.