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WORD FROM BIRD SWAYS DECISION

It was a true cockatoo to-do - that much is true. It ended with a revelation: Michel was really Racquel. Who knew?

A custody battle over a pet cockatoo was resolved Friday after a police officer testified he heard the talking bird use phrases it learned from its former owners.Two families in suburban Melbourne each said the pink-and-gray bird was theirs - and the matter went before the Broad-meadows Magistrates' Court.

Carmen Ferreira told the court her pet, Racquel, disappeared two years ago and that she heard it earlier this week calling out "Hello, Racquel" from a nearby house.

But Ignazio Vargou told the court it was not the same bird. He said he bought his, named Michel, at a market more than three years ago.

Magistrate Bernard Coburn ruled that Racquel and Michel were the same bird and ordered him-her returned to Ferreira.

He cited the bird's vocabulary as the basis of his decision.