PERCY the parrot has become something of a celebrity around these parts.
As he wanders through the town centre on the shoulder of his owner Colin Martin he certainly manages to draw a crowd, and when the pair go away on holiday the two-year-old bird is scooped up to take part in the photos of other tourists as he is such a curiosity.
The black-headed caquie, or monkey parrot, has even been called upon to pose with statues, on boats, and with the Olympic Torch – and not many of his feathered friends will be able to say that. Nor will many of them be able to boast having their own Facebook page – but Percy is just a very special parrot.
Owner Colin has had Percy since he was 12 weeks old, and he has brought him up to be so sociable he is almost human.
“He doesn’t know he’s a parrot,” Colin said, “I think he thinks he’s a person with feathers, and we could all be bald birds.
“He’s a real tart. He loves attention and he will go to anybody who gives it to him. He adores children.”
Whenever Colin goes out and about, Percy is always with him, either perched on his shoulder, sitting inside his shirt, or in a special bag which he takes away with him on trips. He is a regular punter at the pubs around the town.
But as popular as he is, Percy works for his fans, performing tricks including ‘saying his prayers’ and lying down on Colin’s hand.
He likes to play with pens, and his artwork is referred to as a ‘polywolydoodle’, Colin said.
It is not the tricks which bring Colin the most joy, however, as he described his best experience with Percy as a recent occasion when he saw the look on a little girl’s face when she had the parrot on her head.
He said: “The lady with her told me her mother died a few months ago and it was the first time he had smiled.”
Colin’s grandchildren are now teaching Percy to speak, although he has not quite mastered it yet.
“I dread what he’s going to say,” Colin said.