Ripley is a Congo African Gray parrot. Hatched by an east coast breeder in February of 1990, she has been the personal pet/companion of Howard Cash, President of Gene Codes, since the age of three. (Um... Since she was three. Howard was quite a bit older.) She is at the Gene Codes office more often in the summer than in the winter, since cold weather makes it difficult to transport her safely. She has been known to attend certain scientific meetings, including The Genome Sequencing and Analysis Conference, Plant Genome and occasionally the American Society for Cell Biology.
African Grays are not endangered, but their international trade is regulated to discourage poaching. In the wild, Grays tend to live 20-30 years. In most cases, they ultimately fall to predators. As pets, they commonly live 65-75 years, though disease, toxic household substances and altercations with other pets are common causes of premature death.
Ripley speaks more cat and electronic noise than English these days. Noises include telephones, answering machines, microwaves and squeaky doors. Vocabulary includes "Hello" (when the REAL phone rings), "Bye bye" (when Howard is heading for the door with keys in hand), "Oh Boy," "What're you doing?" "Hi silly," "Hi gorgeous" and, of course, "Shhhh!"