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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Buddy the parrot performs the Rock Chalk Chant

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

Some people are such ardent fans of their favorite pro or college team that they'll dress their pet dog or cat in a replica Dallas Cowboys jersey or Pittsburgh Steelers cheerleading outfit on game days.

Diehard Kansas fan Barbara Atkinson, however, went one step further. She taught her parrot to do the school's famous Rock Chalk Chant.

In the above video, Atkinson, the executive vice chancellor of the University of Kansas Medical Center, shows off her African Gray parrot "Buddy" and his special talent. Atkinson said Buddy began repeating parts of the Rock Chalk chant when he heard it on TV during games, so she and her husband got the idea to teach the full version to him over the course of a few months.

"He's a really smart parrot and if he gets interested in the words and he hears them, then he ends up repeating them," Atkinson said. "That's one he likes the sound of the words, so he picked it up in practically no time at all. He can actually do it better than the ones we got on the video, but we just didn't get him with a full one."

Buddy has a 200-word vocabulary that includes everything from words and phrases to verses of songs. One of his favorites is chiming in during Christmas carol "Deck the Halls" with the "Fa La La La" portion of the lyrics.

Atkinson, an avid bird watcher who often takes time to spot rare birds while on business trips, serves on the Board of Directors of Audubon Society of Kansas. Her other pet bird is Emma, a rose-breasted cockatoo from Australia, who also talks but has a more limited vocabulary than Buddy.

Even though Atkinson and her husband attend Kansas games regularly, she doesn't expect to bring Buddy anytime soon to lead the Rock Chalk Chant at Allen Fieldhouse.

"He's never come to a game and I don't think he ever will," she said.

(Thanks, Kansas City Star)

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