Sanctuary founder: Parrot was never supposed to fly or talk for Bucs’ draft pick

By Jesse Reed

If you were watching the final rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft specifically so you could see a parrot announce a draft pick for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, chances are you were extremely disappointed.

After all the hype, the parrot, Zsa Zsa by name, ended up doing nothing at all except sit on the shoulder of trainer Stephanie Dripps, who announced the fourth-round pick herself while donning a pirate outfit.

The reactions on social media showed people were very upset that the parrot was there only for decorative purposes.

Because the NFL announced that Zsa Zsa would “deliver the team’s selection to a pick announcer at the pirate ship,” people assumed the bird would either fly the pick in or say the name aloud.

However, according to Patricia Norton, founder of the Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary in Hudson, nothing of the sort was every supposed to happen. Everything that happened went just as it was planned to happen.

“We were not going to let a bird fly through the stadium and land on somebody’s shoulder. That would be dangerous for the bird,” she said, per Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times. “I thought we had made very clear what the public was to expect. … We were perfectly happy. The Bucs were perfectly happy and have invited us back for future events.

“I’m going to continue to keep this as positive as possible, and ignore the negativity that’s being put out there,” said Norton, adding that it would be “absolutely ridiculous” to expect them to allow a trained bird to fly and risk injury or flying away.

Well, there you have it.

The entire thing was apparently a case of miscommunication.

That said, trained birds fly around in stadiums all the time. So it’s not like people were crazy to assume that Zsa Zsa would actually deliver the pick, or even that the macaw would say the name, given the species’ proclivity for mimicry.

Needless to say, this explanation likely won’t do much for those who were looking forward to something more from Zsa Zsa.