Stuck at home, this parrot's voice soars worldwide
NOKOMIS -- Come to Nokomis and inside a lovely home, you’ll find Frank P. Maglio Jr. and his pet parrot, Tico.
The two have been stuck inside together ever since the COVID pandemic forced Frank, a diabetic, to work from home.
“We’re very fortunate that we live in an area where we can get outdoors," Frank says, "The fact that we can open our house up to the elements, go outside, sit in the sun, it’s not been as bad working from home.”
But what really plucked him from boredom was his guitar.
“I grew up in a family of musicians. My father... still plays piano to this day. He encouraged us all to embrace something musical," says Frank.
Frank began his musical life playing piano, like father like son, then drifted to drums before fiddling with a guitar at his grandparents’ home.
“And that was it. I started taking lessons when I was 12 which is 42 years of trying to master this thing.”
When asked how close he is to mastering the instrument, he responds, “Oh, so far. So far from it.”
So this is where Tico comes into the story. Being a parrot, Tico’s outlived some of Frank’s other pets. After 18 years with Tico, when Frank was strumming along finding some way to have fun staying at home during the COVID pandemic, he heard Tico singing along, with wonderful vibrato, to the music.
Frank and his wife shot a video of Tico’s singing and put it online for friends and family, and in a year when the coronavirus spread worldwide, so too did Tico’s voice.
Tico’s an amazon parrot, which helps explain his talent.
“These birds are known for being able to sing opera," says Frank. And how true that is -- check out this video of a parrot singing opera, and thank you Celinha Fink, the video's owner, for allowing us to use the video for the story.
Tico sings more rock than opera, and he has his own trademark scream of, “BABY!” He also doesn’t sing the exact lyrics to a song.
“In fact, he completely botches every single song we make. He does not vocalize the lyrics," Frank says with a laugh.
One commenter on his YouTube channel said Tico’s singing reminds him of singing with his drunk friends.
It’s part of Tico’s charm. So much so that Frank and Tico were invited to share a song with Kelly Clarkson’s virtual audience.
Yes, it's exciting to be on a national talk show, or to be tweeted about by former professional basketball player Rex Chapman (the link to the video no longer works).
But it’s the people who watch Clarkson or follow Chapman, who then visit Tico’s YouTube page, who motivate Frank to keep sharing videos.
“Everyday brings new people. I mean, they’re coming up from all over the world," Frank says.
“That’s the silver lining of this thing, is how I look at it. You know, we’re stuck at home for goodness sake.”
At the end of the day, stuck at home doesn’t mean trapped at home. Or as Frank's dad would sing, “Don’t fence me in.”