Image: Parrot Willie
CBS4Denver.com via AP
Willie, a Quaker parrot in Denver, Colo., has been given a lifesaver award by the local Red Cross chapter.
updated 3/24/2009 9:07:18 AM ET 2009-03-24T13:07:18

A parrot whose cries of alarm alerted his owner when a little girl choked on her breakfast has been honored as a hero.

Willie, a Quaker parrot, has been given the local Red Cross chapter's Animal Lifesaver Award.

In November, Willie's owner, Megan Howard, was baby-sitting for a toddler. Howard left the room and the little girl, Hannah, started to choke on her breakfast.

Willie repeatedly yelled "Mama, baby" and flapped his wings, and Howard returned in time to find the girl already turning blue.

Howard saved Hannah by performing the Heimlich maneuver but said Willie "is the real hero."

"The part where she turned blue is always when my heart drops no matter how many times I've heard it," Hannah's mother, Samantha Kuusk, told KCNC-TV. "My heart drops in my stomach and I get all teary eyed."

Willie got his award during a "Breakfast of Champions" event Friday attended by Gov. Bill Ritter and Mayor John Hickenlooper.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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