Chris Biro became a professional pirate more than 30 years ago
RIDGEFIELD — There is a message board in front of the stage of the Pirate’s Parrot Show at the Clark County Fair.
It describes the origins of the show, how Chris Biro became infatuated with parrots.
The first parrot he met, Chester, belonged to a family friend. It was 1986. Chris decided that the ornery bird could be trained.
Soon enough, Chris and Chester were taking walks on the beach. There was a connection.
Chester was given to Chris as a gift.
“Thus, Chris Biro’s love affair with parrots,” the sign reads.
After one of the Pirate’s Parrot Show performances on Tuesday, Biro had another memory from that day.
“Totally screwed up my life,” he said with a wry smile.
No, he loves his life. He loves his birds. And he loves educating the public about parrots.
These days, Biro travels all over, with dozens of parrots, his pirate ship, and his pirate personality.
“I’ve probably done all the fairs in Oregon and Washington at least three or four times,” said Biro, a frequent entertainer at the Clark County Fair.
“We usually do 40 to 60 days of actual fair time per season,” he said.
Of course, all that was shut down in 2020, and he only had about 25 percent of his normal schedule last year. Things are returning to normal these days, but travel costs have skyrocketed.
Still, for now, the Pirate’s Parrot Show will continue.
This is Biro’s 31st year as a pirate.
But his introduction to parrots goes back 36 years.
Still, in 1986, he never figured it would become his career.
A couple years after his first encounter, he was in college studying electrical engineering in Walla Walla, and by then he had another parrot, Jeremy. Chris would ride his motorcycle around town. Jeremy would sit on Chris’ shoulder. Eventually, the pair would be asked to go to day care centers, to churches, and elementary schools.
They were popular.
Not exactly bringing in the dough, though. But they were entertaining and educational.
Chris would buy more parrots and start charging people to take photos.
One Halloween, Biro put on a pirate costume, and brought a parrot to a party. That was the key.
A pirate. With a parrot. What a team.
He left Walla Walla College and became a full-time pirate.
To date, he has adopted more than 100 unwanted parrots, and he has trained dozens to fly outdoors in complex environments.
He also is the director of Bird Recovery International, a non-profit organization focused on reintroducing endangered bird species to the wild. In fact, he just returned from Brazil where he helped release eight parrots into the wild.
That is his passion these days. He wants parrots to thrive.
At the Clark County Fair, Biro and the parrots have four shows a day.
“It’s a challenging parrot show,” Biro said because it is not all fun and games. It is educational.
Still, he is a pirate and his parrots know their roles, too. One in particular knows his lines, and can sing, too.
Together, Biro and the parrots put on a show, take pictures with the crowd, and teach a lot about, no, not really the pirate life, but certainly the parrot life.
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