JOHN HAYWARD MAKES an interesting point in his “Lost & Found” round-up on page 5: despite the dire weather so far this year, a high proportion of reported escaped parrots have survived and have been recovered safely. It’s striking indeed how these tropical birds can adapt to our temperate conditions. My favourite example concerns an orange-winged Amazon (Amazona amazonica) that was on the hoof in south-west London for several years, winters and all.
It used to team up with wandering bands of feral Indian ringnecks and was observed several times in the famous mass parakeet roost at Esher Rugby Club. At one stage, it liked to hang out at the lovely National Trust property at Osterley Park, a favourite haunt of mine.
Boy, did that parrot make a racket. It used to perch high in the plane trees by the lake and keep up a barrage of tin-ripping screeches. I tracked the culprit down by the expression of an angler who’d nipped out for a quiet morning’s fishing. The Amazon was sitting directly above him. I’ll never forget that look.
Full marks to the parrot for winter survival – but I did wonder whether the cold was its worst enemy!
■ Ed’s Quote of the Week: asked what he’d do if he won the lottery, Jim Hulse says (page 17): “Ask for the money in pennies so I could sit down and count out that my winnings were all there.” Now there speaks a true club official!