Devastation turns to joy as escaped parrot Apple's tearful owner is reunited with pet bird after it is rescued from the clutches of magpies in a Thorley Park garden
The owner of a pet parrot which did a flit from its Bishop’s Stortford home spoke of her joy and relief after it was returned to her on Tuesday (January 4) – having been rescued from the claws of a group of magpies.
Milly Manson issued a desperate plea for help on the Stortford Nature Facebook group on Monday (Jan 3) after Apple the pineapple conure flew off from her shoulder at around 1pm after she had stepped out into the garden of her home on the Havers estate.
“I thought I saw one of my chickens had got into next door’s garden and opened the patio door,” said Milly. “It turned out to be a white cat, but Apple was on my shoulder and she flew off.”
Devastated Milly left nine-month-old Apple’s cage outside and tearfully watched to see if her beloved bird would return. She said she was just staring at the sky and sobbing and had walked the streets looking for her.
But yesterday she received the news that Apple had been spotted in a garden in Magnaville Road, Thorley Park, surrounded by a parliament of magpies, and bird expert Raymond Barnett had saved her in the nick of time.
Grateful Milly told the Indie: “I thought I would never get her back – I’ve not slept.”
Although Milly has two other birds – cockatiel Phoebe and Ziggy the Indian ringneck – Apple is the apple of her eye.
“She just has such lovely characteristics,” said Milly. “She’s super-friendly and loves fruit, particularly apple and grapes. She loves a bath in the sink, eats anything and everything, and she can say ‘Dan’ – my other half – and ‘shut up’ and she miaows like a cat.”
When the pet parrot took flight, Milly’s sons Jacob, 10, and Lonny, 3, were upset – more so Jacob, for whom Apple was bought to help with his autism. “Apple is a therapy bird for Jacob – he’s been so heartbroken,” she said.
The family’s birds are a big part of their lives and even have their own playroom with gym. “They’re my complete world [and are] spoilt rotten,” added Milly.
She was full of praise for the bird’s rescuers, Raymond and Margaret Barnett – who contacted the Indie, whose Nature Notes columnist Jono Forgham went out searching for Apple – and heralded the power of social media.
When Apple was returned Milly said she couldn’t stop crying. “I’ll never say I hate Facebook again,” she said. “I'm so forever grateful and touched by everyone who helped and offered support.”
Margaret Barnett told the Indie a neighbour had alerted them to Apple after she had been seen in their garden.
Raymond was called in and, having had birds for years, including an 80-year-old parrot, he was the perfect man for the job, taking the rescue in his stride.
“It was dead easy. I could tell it was a family’s bird as it was so tame,” he said. “It was being chased by the magpies and the neighbours have a cat, so it wouldn’t have lasted long.”
People who had been following the story on Facebook were overjoyed at news of the happy ending. Carole Bruce said: "Some happy news on this grey January day." Pat Osgood commented: "Made my day", while Janine Pearson went one further and said: "That's made my New Year."