If you’re going to commit a murder, maybe don’t do it in front of that witness. Even if that witness is a parrot.
Especially if that witness is a parrot, in this case. A story that’s spanned the globe is nearing its conclusion, as a woman whose lies were exposed by a parrot has now been convicted of murder. One of the clues in that case was testimony provided by a parrot.
We have video for you, from before the trial began, of Bud the African Grey. They censor some of his course language, but you do get to hear him imitate the murder victim pleading for his life.
To be clear, Bud the parrot didn’t testify in court.
This isn’t, like, a cartoon.
Or an especially screwy rerun of Matlock.
In 2015, Martin Duram was shot five times in his home.
His wife, Glenna Duram, was found having been shot once in the head.
Though she was initially treated as a surviving victim, police ultimately came to realize that she was the perpetrator.
She has now been convicted of murder, as the whole thing was apparently a murder-suicide that didn’t work out quite as she’d hoped.
But there was a witness — Bud, Martin’s pet African Grey.
Now living with Martin’s ex-wife, Bud began to repeat what are believed to have been Martin’s final words:
"Don’t f—ing shoot!"
That might sound like something that Bud might have heard in a movie.
And that exact sort of argument is part of why Bud never spoke in court.
(Also he’s just shy and seems to repeat these lines when no one is in the room)
(And then there’s the obvious absurdity and inherently questionable nature of a parrot’s testimony)
But according to Martin Duram’s ex-wife, Bud most often repeats this phrase while imitating Martin’s voice.
And you can hear Bud doing just that in the video below.
Is that conclusive?
Is Bud even directly pointing the finger (or … talon?) at Glenna?
But it’s certainly suspicious as hell.
And it’s unnerving to hear Martin’s voice begging for his life in what some say is a decidedly familiar tone.
Not to worry, though — it was actual evidence that led to Glenna’s murder conviction.
For many talking birds, their "speech" is less about conversation and more like … some sort of avian echolalia.
That is, both domesticated and wild birds, including various parrot species, might repeat noises that they’ve heard, almost compulsively.
Some birds mimic car engine noises, others (especially beautiful tropical birds) imitate the sound of a camera taking a photo.
African Greys are different.
African Greys are widely regarded to be one of the most intelligent bird species and species in general in the world.
We’ve read a story where a woman’s African Grey would make vocal noises that sounded exactly like the woman’s kitchen sink was running.
She went into the kitchen to check — but the sink was stopped.
She goes back out into her living room, and the parrot — very amused with themselves — says "fooled you!" Triumphantly.
We’ve also read about parrots who will talk to dogs by imitating the voices of their humans.
"Wanna go for a walk?" can be very, very confusing for a dog who doesn’t realize that it’s the parrot talking.
In the case of Bud, however, we think that he’s probably just traumatized by what he witnessed.
Repeating what he’s heard doesn’t mean that he understands the justice system and wanted to provide evidence.
He very likely is just still processing it, still terrified by it.
Glenna Duram still awaits sentencing for murdering her husband.
It’s likely that she’ll face life in prison for her crime.
Bud, in the meantime, will turn 21 in a couple of months.
That would be really old for a dog or a cat, but African Greys have been known to live for up to 80 years in captivity.
Honestly, and we don’t care if this sounds silly, we hope that Bud is processing what happened as healthily as he can.
60 more years is a long time to live with trauma.
But he looks pretty happy in his new home, where he’s now been for over a year.
Watch the pre-trial news clip below to see and hear him recount Martin Duram’s last moments: