Beautiful encounter with a Superb Parrot.

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richman
Beautiful encounter with a Superb Parrot.

A sort of rescue situation or maybe just helping a pal.

I was walking through St Leonards Park in Nth Sydney on my way to work when I heard a strange bird call, Obviously a parrot but not one that I knew. I was intrigued. There was a park employee using his whipper snipper with a lot of noise and he was drowning out the calls but I managed to work out where it was coming from and walked over to the tall tree. I stood there for a good 10-15mins trying to see where the sound was coming from and mimicking as best I could. Eventually I saw a green parrot right up high in a gum tree calling out as loud as his little lungs could. I noticed that he wasn't any of the usual types and could see he had yellow cheeks, hints of other colours and quite a long tail but he was very high and my old eyes aren't as good as they once were. It was definitely a species I hadn't seen before which obviously piqued my interest.

I stood there for another 15 mins trying to get a better ID, still trying to mimmick, and failing quite badly. A pair of noisy mynahs noticed the different plumage and went to harrass him but he wasn't too worried as he knew he could outfly them easily, and that he did.... He flew off around the back of the tree but I diligently tracked him and noticed that he was coming around the tree. He proceeded to fly low around me at a distance of about 15-20m and I followed him around spinning on the spot as if I was flying a guide by wire model plane. Round and round he flew and round and round I spun (wishing I had my camera) until he started contracting his circuits getting closer every time. I called out to him and he came straight up and landed on my shoulder to my absolute joy and amazement.

I still had no idea what this beautiful parrot was. (I found out later it was a Superb Parrot) He was content to sit on my shoulder while I walked all the time talking to him. I remembered I had a small snack bag of wild bird seed in my bag and managed to fish it out to his delight. The little guy was quite happy to have a feed and sit on me as if I was his best mate.

There is an establishment in St Leonards Park which used to be the Bowling club and now has re-branded as 'The Greens' who have a couple of small aviaries so I walked over to them and asked the nearest bloke if they had lost a bird. He replied "I dunno mate I'll get the bird girl" soon a lovely young lady came round the corner and gaped at this bird adorning my old shoulder. She must have thought I looked like a pirate with my shabby, bearded and parrot wearing appearence. Anyway she wasn't missing this bird. We spent some time discussing the bird in question and she lent me a bird carrying container she often uses for transporting the birds complete with fresh hay. He didn't want to go in there but I couldn't risk the trip walking along the main road with him on my shoulder (though I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have budged after knowing him now)

I took him to my small office just down the road and let him out. He was very happy to be out and straight back to my shoulder.  I turned on the computer and sought out a likely water container for him. He was rather thirsty I found out after presenting it. He had a nice day snacking on anything I had to hand including trying to eat some of my lunch roll (I quickly made sure he had something more appropriate).

He was wearing a band around his ankle with a number. After ringing local vets and asking anyone I could think of where to find a register of band numbers. I found out there isn't one.  I eventually found out that the colour of the band meant that he was a hand reared captive bred bird (which wasn't half obvious by his familiarity) All the vets said there was no missing superb parrots that they had heard of and that I was now the proud owner of one such parrot.

After taking him home that night and setting him up with a special spot in the bathroom with branches and both food and water container supended high. he noticed his reflection in the mirror and fell in love. He would not leave the mirror happily talking to his reflection and posing/posturing. The only way I could get him away from the mirror was to cover it up, then he was my best mate and wouldn't leave my shoulder sleeping snuggled into my neck while I sat at the computer trying to find his home.

I planned to keep him for a few days to try to find the owner but I had a fallback plan... a mate of mine has a farm out at Richmond (in the North West of Sydney) on a river and has a large aviary 8m  x 3m x 3m that he has set it up with a pond and lots of native plants and grasses. I spoke to him and asked for a commitment that if I didn't find the owner he would have the bird as long as he bought him a mate. He was very happy to accommodate my lonely liuttle mate.

Anyway I found a report of a missing bird on missingparrot.com (who'd 'a' thought) a bird that had gone missing three days prior to when I found him.  He was the chap but my worry was that he lived in a flat in inner city Surry Hills and had many other parrots trapped in cages. Anyway after much deliberation I decided even though My outcome would have been better for the bird, this chap had paid quite a bit of money for this bird so I gave him back. 

Even though caging a wild animal (especially a bird) and ownership of other sovereign living creatures is anathema to me. I made a decision I regret and was very sad to see the little character go. He was truly a beautiful bird. I found out his name was Lochie. (I am guessing it's short for Lachlan)

Rick N
Rick N's picture

That's a great tale Richman and what a beautiful bird. Tough decision on what to do, think I would have been very tempted

by the aviary option. I'm with you on a distaste for caging animals and birds especially but each to his or her own I suppose.

No easy answer to the dillema you faced. Thanks for sharing your story.

pacman
pacman's picture

what a great story - I would have been of no use as I don't have a packet of wild bird seed with mewink

Peter

Willskrills
Willskrills's picture

Very nice story richman, its sad that the owner had him caged up in a flat with lots of other birds. I really do not like seeing or hearing about birds cooped in small places.sad

William.S

richman

yes unfortunately I texted the guy about finding a superb and couldn't have known the situation. The superb most likely would have had a better life in the aviary (with a mate) but even that is still a cage. Once I told him I had the bird I couldn't really back out. I could have faked an escape or said it suddenly died but that would have been dishonest.

Some say that hand reared birds cannot survive in the wild and maybe that is true, but I know I saw this guy trying lots of things such as wild figs, gumnuts and even picking around in the grass. I kinda think he might have got on OK except he was headed North instead of South so he wouldn't have found a mate anywhere in that direction. Plus he may not know about predators, he was pretty wary of other birds even pigeons and rainbow lorikeets. He was a very fast flighted fellow too.

Devster
Devster's picture

Great story richman.

Maybe you could contact the man and ask to visit Lochie or even offer to buy it off him.

Either way its hard when you get attached and want them to have the best possible life and can see someone else not giving them what they deserve.

Love to hear if it developes any more.

richman

He said I could come over and photograph his birds but I haven't. I would be sad at seeing them in cages
 

Reflex
Reflex's picture

I've only just found this. Great read Richman and thanks for sharing. I admire your honesty, I really do but I'm not sure I would have  handed back the bird although as you said once you had told him you had the bird you couldn't really back out.

Samford Valley Qld.

richman

Yeah I know Reflex...I still think of Little Lochie and still regret my decision. I only found out that the owner lived in a flat when he came over to pick up the bird. I found out he was in the Inner city area when he called me about my initial enquiry. If I had the luxury of time travel things would probably be different.

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