The plaque reads, ”Polly, Born 1850, Died 1972./Under this sod lies a sourdough parrot,/Its heart was gold, pure 14 carat./Polly now can spread her wings/Leaving behind all earthly things./She ranks in fame as our dear departed,/A just reward for being good hearted.” Note:No one knew for certain what sex Polly was.
Polly supposedly came to the Yukon in 1898. In the early 1900s, James Alexander, who ran a mine east of Atlin, British Columbia came to own Polly. On a trip to Vancouver in 1918, Alexander left the bird behind with friends. Sadly he and his wife drowned aboard the ill-fated Princess Sophia.
Orphaned, Polly moved in to the Caribou Hotel (later named Carcross Hotel) in Carcross, Yukon, and quickly became its most distinctive resident. From its perch in the hotel’s restaurant, which mainly catered to miners, Polly learned how to sing, bite, drink, spit and swear. Polly would drink whiskey until he got so drunk he fell off his perch. Yet, when around kids, Polly became a new bird and sang sweetly whenever children sat down for homemade pie in the restaurant.
A Canadian Press reporter turned up at the hotel in the 1970s. “The world famous Carcross parrot is probably the oldest, meanest, ugliest, dirtiest bird north of the 60th parallel,” Dennis Bell wrote in an article called Parrot Reformed but Hates Everyone, which was heralded as a story of the year in 1972. “He hates everybody. Which is understandable, because the damned old buzzard has resided within spitting distance of a beer parlour since 1919 and has had to endure 64 years of beer fumes, drunks who mash soggy crackers through the bars of his cage, and phantom, feather pluckers.”
After outliving many of its owners, Polly died in November 1972 and was buried in the Carcross cemetery.