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John Paul the Grey Parrot on the Loose
Father Ron Wekerle is praying that John Paul will return to the roost.
Monday, March 25, 2024


As you search for robins and other signs of spring, keep your eyes peeled, as well, for a medium- to large-sized grey parrot hanging around the Wood River Valley.

Father Ron Wekerle’s beloved African Grey parrot escaped a week ago from his home in the Heatherlands north of Hailey.

“I’m afraid that JPs gone, but I’m still heading out this afternoon looking for him,” said Wekerle. “Today I’m taking my bike out…..he was a great pet and I miss the companionship.”

An outpouring of people showed up to search—not just from the neighborhood but from his congregations in Ketchum, Hailey, Fairfield and Stanley.

“From my studio window I could see a steady stream of searchers, some equipped with binoculars and cameras, all coming together in search of JP, or John Paul. Even yesterday I saw several people driving slowly by, heads up, hoping for a miracle,” said Christina Healy. “While JP has not reappeared, I told father Ron that the miracle has been to witness and participate in this huge effort on behalf of a beloved priest whose following extends, far, far beyond the pulpit.”

African grey parrots make great pets and great companions as they can mimick human speech and even understand hundreds of words given the proper training. The most intelligent of the parrot species, they’re sweet, affectionate and sociable, although they can often become one-person birds.

they’re native to equatorial Africa, including the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Kenya and Uganda.

They prefer dense forests but can occasionally be found where forests intersect with open areas.

“Hoping for a miracle and, if anyone deserves one, surely Father Ron would qualify,” said Healy.

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