Since you asked: What happened to the bird in Black Bird? – Medford news, weather, sports, breaking news

Dear SYA smarties. I was happy to hear that the Black Bird mall was planning a new store in Phoenix with a new blackbird statue. But what I want to know is if the store will get more live birds inside the new store and the old one in Medford.

—GN, Medford

No one who lives in Medford can ignore the 29ft statue outside the Black Bird store on West Main Street. This bird has served as a sentinel since 1965 and, while it often wears only its feathers, the staff dresses it for special occasions.

He wears running shorts for the Pear Blossom race, a Santa hat for Christmas and for the plague year 2020 the Blackbird wore a mask. While the disease was new, the mask was not; it was created as a tribute to firefighters during smoky summers.

Inside the store – behind the counter in the ammo and knife section – another bird has recently resided, an African gray named Joe.

How come the bird in Black Bird wasn’t black but grey? We could argue that its color doesn’t matter – it’s a bird and a very smart bird. Intelligence levels of African gray parrots compare to those of 7-year-olds in laboratory tests.

Joe no longer lives in Black Bird. He recently returned home with an employee he had befriended. The store is looking forward to another resident, this one a black myna, owner Tyler Quitt said. A former myna who lived there, Billy, died a few years ago, and it turns out that mynas are hard to come by.

When Billy died, the store was bird-free, coinciding with the previous general manager’s desire to bring back his parrot, Joe. Now Joe has a new home and the store is ready for a new bird.

The new Phoenix store will also have a live bird, but the statue is pending approval from the City of Phoenix. Modern regulations exclude a statue of the towering grandeur of the old, but the new sentry will be modeled after the old.

Send your questions to “Since You Asked”, Mail Tribune Newsroom, PO Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; or by email at

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