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Insurance agents adopt four orphaned parakeets

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Allstate Insurance agents and four orphan parakeets have proven that they’re birds of a feather that flock together. 

It was the morning of Aug. 6 when Jeannie Peter, a senior insurance producer at Allstate, stopped at Chipotle Mexican Grill, on Hudson Road, for lunch on her way to work. 

While she was waiting, since the restaurant wasn’t quite open, she noticed a bird cage sitting next to a nearby dumpster. 

“There were these little yellow heads bobbing up and down at the bottom of the cage,” she said. “They were live birds.” 

The tiny cage housed four colorful parakeets who were without food or water. 

Without much thought, Peter loaded the birds into her car. 

“I don’t know how long they had been there,” Peter said. “Maybe someone dropped them off earlier that morning, I’m hoping, but I just didn’t know what to do with them.” 

Since Peter was on her way to work she didn’t have time to stop home first, so the birds went with her to the Allstate Insurance office, located on Commerce Drive. 

Upon arrival, Peter received a few surprised looks. 

“Everyone said, ‘What are you doing bringing your birds to work? It’s not bring-your-bird-to-work day,’” Peter said. 

Travis Nadeau, agency owner at Allstate, said seeing birds in his office brought a little excitement to his day. 

“It blew me away at first,” he said, “but we didn’t have anywhere to put them, so I said bring them on in.” 

The fact that it was Peter who brought them, Nadeau said, wasn’t that surprising, though. 

“She’s always been a kind-hearted type of lady,” he said. “I call her mother Allstate because she takes care of all of us.” 

Initially the plan was to find a home for the four birds, but eventually they became right at home in the office. 

“They kind of grew on us,” Peter said,” and now they’re a permanent fixture.” 

Dawn Erbhoesser, a licensed insurance representative at Allstate, has taken it upon herself to care for the office’s feathered friends since she went online to look up how to care for the birds and found a cage, toys and food. 

“Birds are new to me because I have a guinea pig at home,” she said. “Birds are a little bit different.” 

“She kind of became mother bird,” Peter said. 

The Allstate parakeets were eventually given names – Mayhem, after the Allstate spokesman, Billy and Houdini. 

“We call one of them Houdini because he got out and was flying around the office,” Peer said. 

The fourth parakeet, though, who is green, is still without a name. 

“You can’t just name them randomly,” Peter said, “it has to fit.” 

Peter said the office will probably start some sort of office, or public, poll to find his name. 

Having four parakeets in the office has proven to be a lot of fun for the Allstate agents. 

“It brings a different atmosphere to the office,” Nadeau said. 

Erbhoesser, who works in the front part of the office away from the rest of the agents, said having the birds up front by her has given her four new companions. 

“They’re my buddies,” she said. 

As much fun as the birds are, though, they can be distracting at times. 

“Every once in a while they get riled up and make a lot of racket,” Nadeau said, “ but we just laugh.” 

Erbhoesser and Peter said they’ve noticed that the birds get more vocal when someone is on the phone. 

“For whatever reason they think you’re talking to them,” Peter said. 

Whether or not the birds stay in the Allstate office, or find homes with one of the agents, is yet to determined. 

For now, they’re just a fun addition to the office. 

“I never expected to have birds,” Nadeau said, “but it makes everybody a little more cheery here.” 

“We always have a good laugh,” Erbhoesser said.


Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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