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JPR Feature
Snafu the Parrot   
Tuesday August 16, 2005
By Marjorie O'Harra

Welcome to As It Was: Tales from the State of Jefferson

"Snafu" was an exotic snow-white parrot that was not at all shy about expressing himself. And that's precisely what got him into trouble.

Known as "the parrot with a proclivity toward profanity," Snafu drew national attention to Medford, Oregon, in the late 1940s.

The problem was, Snafu had learned to talk in an Army camp in the South Pacific. When First Lieutenant Hugh Collins, a Medford attorney, brought him home after the war, Snafu had difficulty making the linguistic transition to civilian life.

Due to his Army slang and bursts of profanity, Snafu was not well received in Collins' neighborhood. In fact, his foul beak landed him in the Medford city jail. During his stay, Snafu attended Sunday church services and even learned to sing bits of hymns. That's when the Associated Press picked up the story and it eventually appeared in a Syracuse, New York, newspaper. 

The Medford fire department offered Snafu a home, but while there, he learned to wail like a siren and ring like a telephone. Said a distraught fireman, "It got so we couldn't hear ourselves think." The bird had to go. Again.

Snafu's last home was a cage in a feed store.

Today's episode of As It Was was written by Marjorie O'Harra, the program engineer is Raymond Scully.  I'm Shirley Patton. As It was is a co-production of JPR and the Southern Oregon Historical Society.  To Share stories or learn more about the series visit asitwas - dot- org

"Cussing Parrot Jailed," The Herald-American, February 17, 1946 (photocopy of clipping from file in SOHS library).

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