Is­land’s ‘fa­mous’ par­rot loved by lo­cals

North Harbour News - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - AMY BAKER

He’s al­most Har­lequin green, blends in with the trees, and loves ask­ing, ‘What’s for din­ner?’

Meet Barry: he’s world fa­mous. In West Auck­land’s Her­ald Is­land, that is.

The In­dian ring­neck para­keet is a fa­mil­iar sight to lo­cals, who spot him in the Do­main or have him drop in to their back­yard for a visit and a quick check to see what’s on of­fer to eat.

Own­ers Brett and Tracey Bowyer said the bird has be­come some­thing of a ‘com­mu­nity mas­cot’, and Her­ald Is­lan­ders love shar­ing their pho­tos of the cheeky par­rot to the area’s com­mu­nity page. Barry, now six, first started roaming the is­land when he was around two-years-old, af­ter Tracey changed ca­reers and stopped work­ing in a kinder­garten.

‘‘I used to have a por­ta­ble cage, and he would come to work with me ev­ery day, and he would, like, fly around the class­room and he would sit on all the kids’ shoul­ders and they’d ride bikes,’’ she said.

How­ever, when Tracey could no longer take him to work and started leav­ing him at home all day - even with the ra­dio on Barry be­came very de­pressed at no longer hav­ing com­pany and free­dom.

Af­ter a few es­capes, The Bowyers stopped clip­ping his wings, wor­ried he would not be able to take off from the ground if con­fronted by a preda­tor.

For the past four years, Barry has had run of the gar­den and is­land skies, even fol­low­ing a friend of the Bowyers’ home one day to When­u­a­pai af­ter recog­nis­ing her voice in the street. Most evenings Barry comes home, al­though oc­ca­sion­ally he does spend the night out­side - usu­ally in a nearby punga tree.

Tracey said lo­cals first got to know him through com­mu­nity events, such as Hal­loween and the is­land’s an­nual re­gatta. How­ever, when res­i­dents no­ticed him unat­tended on the is­land, they be­gan post­ing pic­tures of the bird to Face­book, as­sum­ing he was lost. Tracey then started putting up pho­tos to show the bird safely re­turned, so peo­ple would know not to cap­ture him.

The par­rot has a broad ap­petite, how­ever, the Bowyers have cau­tioned against feed­ing him av­o­cado, which is toxic for birds.

While there are any num­ber of dan­gers out­doors, it’s still ‘‘way bet­ter’’ than hav­ing him shut up in a cage, Tracey said.

‘‘He’s just hard case, you know - he’s fa­mous around the place.’’

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