Charlie and Romana Prince were sick as a parrot after their pet Io, a blue fronted Amazon, flew the nest last week.
They thought that, in the snow and unseasonable cold temperatures of March, his fate had become that of the dead parrot in the famous Monty Python sketch – that he was ‘no more’.
But the couple’s despair turned to joy on Easter Day when parks police from Hammersmith & Fulham Council reunited them with Io, after the bird was spotted spending time on the Thames as a spectator at the Boat Race.
Six-year-old Io disappeared from his Burnfoot Avenue home in Fulham on March 28, after he flew off Charlie’s shoulder at the back door, as he put the rubbish out.
Three days later, with the help of a local resident, wily borough parks police officers Constable Tony Spyrou and Sergeant Ian Crow patrolling in Bishops Park managed to bring pet and owners back together.
PC Spyrou said: “We saw a man with a parrot on his shoulder in the park and thought, ‘that’s a bit unusual’, but carried on. Then later on a small crowd had gathered around this man with the parrot drinking some water from a bowl on the floor.
“We went over, had a chat, and the man said he’d found the parrot by the children’s play area. One of the ladies in the crowd then said she’d seen a poster in Parsons Green for a missing parrot. So we got him in a box – though he did put up a good fight – and headed down there, got the address from the poster and turned up at the house.”
Romana, 56, said: “I couldn’t believe it when I opened the door and they said ‘is this your parrot?’. It was like they were speaking another language, and I had to say ‘pardon?’ And, even though he was obviously desperate, Io took one look at me and went ‘urgh!’ – he hates me but he loves the boys!
“We’d been out all morning wandering and walking, looking for him and calling his name, but had no luck. My husband and son, who is also called Charlie, had gone back out looking for him – ironically to Bishops Park – but it’s lucky that I stayed at home! He’s a bit of a biter so I can’t believe he was happy with a stranger, and it’s amazing that the parks police managed to get him in the box! He was very tired and hungry but otherwise ok."
Io came to live with the Prince family three years ago when they saw a sign in the window of a local coffee shop asking if anyone wanted a pet parrot.
“We put up posters in the snow and were thinking there was no point, as we thought he must be dead, but luckily one lovely lady saw the poster and thanks to her and the parks police, we’ve got him back! The community spirit in Fulham is absolutely fantastic. Everyone down my street has been out looking for him, calling him, and asking about him, and if it wasn’t for that lady, Io might not be here now.”
Cllr Greg Smith, H&F Council deputy leader, said: “Our eagle-eyed parks police officers did a great job and Io certainly ruffled a few feathers with his escapade. It’s great that he was found in fine feather and that we could help Io get home to roost.”