Archie ~ Lost and Found

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ARCHIE ~ By Julie Hamilton


Friday, 29th April 2011, the night of the Royal Wedding, a beloved African Grey parrot escaped from his/her home in North London. On Sunday 1st May, we received a frantic call from a lady in North London saying that she had picked up a parrot from the curb outside her house the day before. The parrot was apparently at liberty flying around her home and pooping everywhere. Respectfully, the lady had no idea of how to care for or manage a free-flying parrot, so, naturally, the lady was unable to cope with the situation. However, she could identify the species of parrot, thus was able to tell us that he/she is an African grey and that she was providing the bird with parrot food and water. She had phoned the RSPCA and other animal organisations but no one was willing to help. Through Internet search, she came across our details. I noted the distress in her voice and knew we had to collect the bird. I immediately arranged with a friend and supporter, Mick Thornton, to travel from Cambridgeshire to North London.

Archie with bruising round his right eyeMick and I entered the room to find a delightful parrot – with some bruising around his eye – perching on a gentleman’s shoulder looking quite at home. The bruising must surely have been the result of knocking him/herself during flight expedition or a clumsy landing.  The transition went smoothly. There was no room at the inn, so to speak, so I approached one of our potential adoptees and asked if the couple would be willing to temporarily house the Grey until we could locate his/her people. We received a warm positive response. This was a huge relief for us, but before the temporary placement, we took the Grey to a nearby vet for a microchip scan, which registered a most unusual chip number.

Lorraine Roberts and I searched the net for chip companies that were possible matches. We discovered the origin of the chip had come from the Czech Republic and there was no registration of the chip on any UK company database for ‘Lost and Found Animals’, like ‘Pet Finder’. We were stumped … that is until my husband, John, suggested we locate veterinary practices within 1 to 2 mile radius from where the Grey had been found. Job done! I started phoning down the list and on my third call I got a lead! Apparently, a client had walked into the veterinary practice that morning and register his missing African Grey parrot. Quality proof of ‘parrotage’ was provided until we were fully satisfied that we had a match and that it was a loving home waiting in the wings for the return of a beloved bird. By the way, this lucky parrot went by the name of Archie, to which end, was never registered on a microchip database due to a confusing situation - Archie's people thought the vet had automatically registered him once he had been microchipped! Nonetheless, it had taken us two days to achieve this result. The irony is that Archie had only flown 1.5 miles from his home before the lady in North London had picked him from the curb outside her home.
It was bitter-sweet for Shirley and Ian, our potential adoptees, for they had enjoyed their short time with Archie and so were sad to see him go but happy to know that he was soon to be reunited with his beloved people. I felt dreadful taking Archie away, knowing that, especially, Shirley had fallen deeply in love with this delightful bundle of grey and red feathers and admit to shedding some tears with her.
We reunited “Archie” with his people on 5th May 2011. It was a very happy reunion – Archie climbed up Elaine’s arm and immediately began to feed her!

Archie in his home before flight expedition

Archie’s people told us that they intend to erect an outside play aviary for him so that he can enjoy the outside world in safety.
Please note that wing clipping is not the answer to keeping your bird safe, but screen doors / screen fittings around windows and the provision of an outside play-aviary with environmental enrichment during days of good weather is by far the best. Wing clipping will cause physical and psychological damage and is thus detrimental to the overall welfare of parrots and other birds.

 We would like to thank Mike Thornton, Shirley and Ian, and Lorraine Roberts for their valuable help and assistance in concluding a happy ending.