Everything We Know About Andrew Jackson's Swearing Parrot

While dogs are the most commonly talked about pets in the White House in recent years, the fact is that ever since George Washington, there has been a myriad of different animals that earned the title of presidential pet. Cats, horses, donkeys, cows, goats, and hamsters have been some of the more manageable animals to come under the care of the president. Meanwhile, more unique animals that (often) only temporarily come under the possession of a president include bobcats, raccoons, lions, tigers, and bears (via Our White House). 

One order of animals that also fits into the former category is birds. Turkeys, mockingbirds, parakeets, and several other species of parrot and songbird have been the companions of past presidents and their families (via Lafeber). This was the case for Andrew Jackson, the seventh president, who — among many other pets — owned an African grey parrot named Poll that he had purchased for his wife, Rachel. Unlike other presidential parrots, however, this bird evidently took on some of its owner's more unbecoming characteristics (via The Tennessean).

Jackson imparted his salty vocabulary onto the parrot

Andrew Jackson was, to put it lightly, an exceptionally volatile individual who often disregarded formality. On the one hand, his character helped him survive an assassination attempt and win the Battle of New Orleans, which earned him immense national popularity in spite of the battle's post-peace treaty status as an almost pointless affair. On the other hand, as both a general and later president, he used every tool at his disposal to crush indigenous sovereignty. In fact, his actions both directly and indirectly caused the deaths of thousands of Native Americans. 

In 1828, Jackson's wife died of a heart attack not long after his election (via Britannica). Poll subsequently became more greatly exposed to the already foul-mouthed and hot-tempered president (via The Hermitage). On the day of Jackson's funeral, Poll was in attendance with grieving spectators. After possibly being unnerved by the number of people, everyone was left aghast as the bird began to exclaim all sorts of profanity and otherwise inappropriate language (via The Cincinnati Enquirer). Per witnesses, the outbursts were so disruptive that the bird needed to be escorted away from the proceedings (via OMGFacts).