Orry safely home after taking flight

Clive Coates and Ann Murray, left and right, helped to reunite Orry the parrot with owners David and Barbara Cole

Clive Coates and Ann Murray, left and right, helped to reunite Orry the parrot with owners David and Barbara Cole

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Castletown was in something of a flap last week when Orry the parrot went missing.

The African grey belongs to Barbara Cole, and her friend – who does not wish to be identified – was feeding Barbara’s birds in their Victoria Road home while she and husband David were on holiday in the south of England.

Orry is regularly let out of his cage to stretch his wings as part of the feeding routine.

However, just as he was let out on this occasion, Kiki the cockatoo screeched and, according to Barbara, Orry ‘shot out of the door’.

Not wishing to alarm Barbara about her missing parrot, her friend put posters around town and contacted everybody she could think of – including the police – to help in the search for Orry, hoping he would turn up before they returned.

Holidaying owner Barbara received a text from another friend (who was unaware that she didn’t know) saying: ‘Is it Orry that escaped?’

They hastened their return to the island, earlier than planned, on Tuesday.

The search began on Tuesday evening. Barbara played her cornet in the back garden, hoping Orry would hear it.

‘I was out whistling for him, and in the distance he whistled back, an acknowledgement he was around,’ she said.

‘Next morning we were up at 5am. We went up and down the railway line [which runs nearby]. It was 7am before he did a whistle.’

He was then spotted high up in the trees above the railway station.

‘At 9.30am he tried to land, but as he came down he took fright and went off again,’ she said.

‘There was lots of smoke [from the train]. Isle of Man Railways did their best, they told the trains there was a parrot at the station and to go slowly.

‘People were bringing us cups of tea. Then we lost sight of him.

‘At 6pm there was a phone call – an African grey was being harassed by seagulls at Janet’s Corner.

‘We shot off there. We were walking around and around the estate.’

Barbara rang a bell, which Orry often likes doing at home.

The search was fruitless – but then David got a phone call from the ManxSPCA to say Orry had been spotted in the garden of a house at Knock Rushen.

Clive Coates said his wife Anne recognised it was an African grey and they called the ManxSPCA before enticing him down with the savoury snack Twiglets.

‘He was very frightened and sat on my shoulder,’ said Clive. ‘I walked slowly into the summer house. It is a lovely bird, he sat on my shoulder nibbling my ear – not biting it - it’s a sign of affection.’

When Orry saw Barbara he began making a ‘ringing’ sound in recognition. The relieved owner then burst into tears.

‘He went straight into his cage when we got home,’ said Barbara. ‘When we were walking up the path with him he was like a boxer who has won a match, he was dancing in his cage, he was beside himself with joy to be home – absolutely exuberant.

‘All I can say is we slept well that night.’

Barbara thanked everybody for their help in bringing Orry home.

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