How Ziggy the indiscreet parrot gave a cheating girlfriend the bird By Alan Hamilton When the African grey said: 'I love you Gary' in his partner's voice, Chris Taylor became suspicious WHEN Chris Taylor’s best friend repeatedly mentioned the name Gary, his suspicions were aroused. He didn’t know a Gary. And, when the best friend made slurpy kissing noises every time he heard the name Gary on television, Chris wondered if Ziggy was trying to tell him something about some other pretty boy. The penny dropped when, one romantic evening as Mr Taylor cuddled his girlfriend Suzy Collins on the sofa, Ziggy blurted out: “I love you, Gary.” What gave the game away was that Ziggy spoke the fatal phrase in Ms Collins’s voice. Even by the standards of African grey parrots, Ziggy is a mimic and a half, and from his cage in the corner he had heard every bill and coo of a secret love affair. A chill ran down Mr Taylor’s spine. He turned to Suzy, whose cheeks had flushed to beetroot. As she dissolved in tears she was forced to admit to a month-long fling with Gary, some of their intimacies conducted in Mr Taylor’s home while he was out at work, but Ziggy wasn’t. She could not deny it; every time her mobile phone had rung, Ziggy had piped up in perfect imitation of her: “Hiya Gary.” Feathers flew, the relationship was over, and Ms Collins, 25, a call-centre worker, was sent packing that very night from the house in Headingley, Leeds, she had shared with man and bird for a year. That was sad enough, but what is even more heartbreaking is that Mr Taylor has had to part with Ziggy. Hearing the bird constantly squawking the hated name of Gary in the voice of an ex-girlfriend was just too much. Ziggy has found a new home thanks to the good offices of a local parrot dealer; Mr Taylor, 30, a computer programmer, is adjusting to life on his own. “I wasn’t sorry to see the back of Suzy after what she did, but it really broke my heart to let Ziggy go,” he said yesterday. “I love him to bits and I really miss having him around, but it was torture hearing him repeat that name over and over again.” He believes Ziggy was looking after his master’s interests as the bird never really took to Ms Collins, nor she to him. It might have been jealousy, which can flare so easily in a household of two males and one female. “Ziggy was one in a million; he was a loyal friend, and I have no doubt he was looking out for me,” Mr Taylor said. The bird was nothing if not multi-talented. He was, according to his former master, a better impressionist than Alistair McGowan, who could exactly imitate Chris’s friends, copy voices from television and radio, and do convincing impersonations of the doorbell, microwave and alarm clock. Mr Taylor acquired him as a chick eight years ago and named him after the David Bowie character, Ziggy Stardust. He taught the bird to dance while it sang: “Put on your red shoes and dance the blues.” Ms Collins, who is staying with friends, admitted her fling yesterday but refused to identify Gary. “I’m not proud of what I did but I’m sure Chris would be the first to admit we were having problems. We had spoken about splitting up several times and I think it was inevitable.” She added: “I’m surprised to hear he’s got rid of that bloody bird; he spent more time talking to it than he did to me. I couldn’t stand Ziggy, and it looks now the feeling was mutual.” Not, in her view, a pretty boy, then.