The Austrian newspaper Heute reported on Monday that the owner of a pair of African greys – with beautiful plumage – found them to have both died mysteriously, shortly after she prepared some tasty pancakes.
The birds were in their cage in the kitchen, not far from the stove-top where Carina V. was cooking, using Teflon (non-stick surface) pans.
Despite rattling their cage – and possibly offering them a lovely fresh cuttle fish – both birds had "kicked the bucket, shuffled off their mortal coils, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible", in the famous words of Monty Python.
The sad demise occurred in the Lower Austrian town of Hagenbrunn, where a pair of experts from the magazine Parrot News were called in to investigate the tragic circumstances.
Their conclusion was that the Teflon-surface pans had emitted a vapour when heated beyond 260 degrees C (500 degrees F). Apparently, this vapour is harmless to humans, but can be fatal to birds such as parrots, who have much more sensitive respiratory systems.
Traditionally, birds such as canaries were used in coal mines to detect noxious gases, to which they are far more susceptible.
Parrot owners are advised to never keep their birds in the kitchen.
Their owner may wish to register a complaint.