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Equally able to learn French, German, Latin, Greek... capable of saying lengthy sentences, can imitate sounds and accents. 

(Translated by Franko Pavicevac)


Nina and Rico Ciceran, parents of the writer, had two talking starlings - Mickey and Skippy (pictured with mom in 1992). Skippy, the older, was a genuine talker and had a large vocabulary, all in mother's voice. Mickey, on the other hand, initially learned to "speak" from his cage-mate rather than from humans, so his speech was combined with bird-like sounds. Skippy used to say such things as "hello", "give mommy a kiss", "bel piccolo de mamma" and "non staghe dir". Mickey's favorite phrase was "I love you".

Skippy lived to the ripe age of 12, and Mickey surpassed him by one year when he left us in June 2002. He was active up to his last days, and took his ritual morning bath in the kitchen sink with mom providing a terry curtain in front of him to stop some of the splashing that went all over the kitchen. 

Starlings are intelligent and affectionate, and they are widely known to make wonderful pets. In fact, they are sometimes referred to as "the poor man's mynah bird". 

Marisa Ciceran



  • Virgilio Giuricin (artwork), Franina i Jurina - Kalendar 1990, Edicija Libar od Grozda (Pula), p. 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24 and 26. Reproduced from "Storia naturale, generale e particolare" del sig. conte di Buffon, dalle stampe di Antonio Zatta (Venezia, 1790). All rights reserved.  

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This page compliments of Marisa Ciceran and Franko Pavicevac

Created: Saturday, February 10, 2001; Last updated: Sunday October 30, 2011
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