Thursday 27 October 2016

Bunny's wolfwhistling parrot gives passers-by paws for thought

Published 12/08/2015 | 14:18

Cracker the parrot and his good friend Dudley the Staffie
Cracker the parrot and his good friend Dudley the Staffie

A pet parrot has been turning heads by hitching daily rides on the back of his best friend - a dog.

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Far from sending the fur flying, Dudley the Staffordshire bull terrier and Cracker the African Grey have been getting on like birds of a feather for years, says owner Bernard Chamberlain.

Mr Chamberlain - known as Bunny - said he had little choice but to smooth any potential for ruffled feathers when the 53-year-old first took Dudley on as a favour to a relative, four years ago.

However, since the two started living under the same roof, the pair have been the best of friends.

Mr Chamberlain, a landscape gardener and bricklayer, said: "They have just always gotten on well.

"Cracker was here first, then I had Dudley.

"I thought 'I've got to do something to make sure he doesn't hurt her'.

"I started by feeding them in the same room, and Cracker was always with me.

"They got used to each other very quickly.

"Now Dudley will come over, sit by my knee when she's on me, he'll kiss and lick her.

"It's like they've got a special bond, that was always meant to happen.

"There's no fear at all - Dudley would never hurt Cracker."

The pair are so unflustered by each other's company they groom one another, with the Staffie only happy on his walks when the bird is hitching a ride.

Nine-year-old female Cracker has a special harness which attaches to Dudley, aged six, and stops her from flying too far and getting lost.

The brightly-coloured bird's party piece is setting on the balcony of Mr Chamberlain's flat in New Parks, Leicester, whistling at the girls as they walk past.

"When she's up here she talks to people walking past, and it can cause me a bit of embarrassment," he said.

"If pretty girls go by, she whistles at them.

"When they look up I have to say 'it wasn't me'.

He then joked: "If she whistles at the ugly girls, they get a big smile on their face and look up - but I have to say 'it wasn't me' either."

Mr Chamberlain said the pair always earn chuckles and the occasional double-take from amused passers-by, when out and about.

"People come over and ask me how long it took to train Dudley," he said.

"I have a joke and tell them 'it's taken 10 parrots, but he's all right now'."

Until recently, Cracker was also a constant companion on Mr Chamberlain's rounds of golf but has now been banned from the local clubhouse for making a mess on the chairs he said.

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