Island’s ‘famous’ parrot loved by locals
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.’’