Community, others bid farewell to feathered friend
Periwinkle Park on Sanibel recently lost one of its most well-loved and well-known characters.
Fred, a green winged macaw, passed away on Nov. 11. Approximately 60 years old, he had been a figure in the community for about 30 years, owned and cared for by General Manager David Muench and his wife, Marisa. David Muench’s father and uncle, Dick and Jerry Muench, are the co-owners.
“He was the largest bird that we had at the park,” Marisa Muench said.
“He was ‘King of Periwinkle Park,'” she added.
Muench explained that her father-in-law is an animal breeder.
“That’s how dad acquired all the birds at Periwinkle Park,” she said. “They’re all rescues.”
Like the others, Fred had an owner before the Muenches and he was domesticated. Muench explained that his prior owner was a woman who cared for him for about 30 years and called him her “baby.”
“I started bonding with him about four years ago,” she said.
“Everybody knew Fred,” Muench added.
She explained that visitors could pet him through his cage and he was a character.
“He sang, he laughed, he stuck his tongue out,” Muench said, noting that he danced to music and loved riding on the bicycle with her and in the golf cart. “Fred was probably the most popular bird there.”
“He brought joy to a lot of people,” she added.
Muench reported that it is not uncommon for birds to prefer one sex and Fred was drawn to women.
“He was affectionate. He was a lover boy,” she said. “He was easygoing.”
Fred even became Facebook famous.
“I started making videos of him because he’d purr like a cat,” Muench said, explaining that he gained a following on social media for his loveable antics. “He was really a relaxed bird and I loved him a lot.”
She described the loss of Fred as huge for the family, the park and those who loved him.
“I was devastated,” Muench said. “There’ll never be another Fred. He really was one-of-a-kind.”