Have you seen Charlie Bird? He's hard to miss, riding on the back of a bicycle all around Bloomington.
Charlie is a green-winged macaw, a type of parrot native to northern and central South America. He was hatched in 1983 and could live to 80 years of age or more.
Charlie met Jojo Porowski in 2004 after his previous owner passed away. Charlie was distraught and had plucked almost all of his feathers out - something many birds don't recover from. But after a year with Jojo and socialization in the Bloomington community, Charlie's feathers came back completely. He had a health crisis in 2018 and now requires long-term medical care (for more, read "Charlie's Health" below).
Charlie doesn't fly much, possibly because he spent the first 20 years of his life in a cage. But today, Charlie gets to live large by riding on the back of Jojo's bicycle, going hiking and boating, and meeting lots of fans all around Bloomington.
In 2018, Charlie had a health crisis. He nearly died from an avian virus that affects his central nervous system. With treatment from an avian veterinary specialist, including antibiotic and antiviral injections (some directly to his brain), he survived and is thriving! His treatment and recovery would not have been possible without the generous support of the Bloomington community.
However, Charlie requires daily medication and regular visits to the specialist to keep him healthy. He'll need medical care for his condition for the rest of his life, with total costs estimated at over $25,000.
Charlie Bird in the News
Bloomington Indiana Celebrity: Charlie Bird (Hoosier News Source, 2020)
Only In Indiana: Ridin' With Charlie (WTHR, 2017)
Bloomington's bird: Charlie rides to fame on the back of JoJo Porowski's bike (Hoosier Times, 2017; subscription required)
Charlie Bird of Bloomington (Bloom Magazine, 2016)
Matt's Moments: Charlie Bird (WTHI-TV, 2014)
Jojo, Charlie's Best Friend
Jojo Porowski, Charlie's best friend and chauffeur, is a retired, part-time carpenter and native Hoosier. He's an avid cyclist, Hoosiers basketball fan, and outdoorsman. He's pedaled thousands of miles with Charlie on his bike and has loved every one. You can contact Jojo by email.