Not so pretty language

CHATTERBOX parrot George could talk the hind legs off a donkey, but there is one word his owners would rather not hear him say.For George, an African grey, regularly swears – after picking up the rude word from his owner and customers in a pub where he lived.

CHATTERBOX parrot George could talk the hind legs off a donkey, but there is one word his owners would rather not hear him say.

For George, an African grey, regularly swears – after picking up the rude word from his owner and customers in a pub where he lived.

"I think it's fair to say we don't have the vicar around for tea very often," joked owner Sandy Scotchmer .

"I am the culprit. I used to say the word every time I walked past his cage, and then the regulars in one of the pubs we ran used to say it to him, too.


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"Around the same time we had one of the regulars live with us for a while because he had got nowhere else to stay and he used to help by saying it.

"It was only a matter of time before George said it and now he comes out with it as part of his routine."

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Sadly, Sandy and her partner Alan Spurr are having to sell 16-year-old George because they are moving to Spain and cannot get the documentation needed for the bird to join them.

But because of his swearing – we couldn't possibly print the word in a family newspaper – he is probably not suitable for a home with children.

He does though have a large language repertoire – including hello, goodnight, Al, hello darling, bye bye, wolf whistles, and is able to mimic people's voices accurately as well as the sounds other birds make.

"He picks things up really quickly and very well and is very friendly and entertaining and a super pet," said Ms Scotchmer, of Walton High Street, Felixstowe.

"Whenever anyone answers the phone he shouts hello, and when he hears the keys rattle he shouts bye bye. When the TV goes off, we get goodnight because he knows it's time for bed."

The couple, who used to run the Dooley, Falcon and Feathers pubs in Felixstowe, want a place in the sun and are moving to southern Spain, travelling around for six months and then looking for a place to settle.

George was one of the last grey parrots bred abroad and brought to Britain which didn't have a health certificate. Getting the paperwork sorted under the new rules and regulations for taking pets out of the country is difficult.

"It is such a rigmarole to take him abroad and so sadly we have decided we will have to sell him. It's a real shame because we have had him a long time and he would love it out there in Spain in the sun," she said.

n George is on offer for £500 including his cast iron cage – people should ring 01394 279589.

Factfile:

n African greys are renowned for being able to talk – some have been found with vocabularies of up to 1,000 words.

n In the 16th century, Henry VIII kept an African grey as a pet at Hampton Court.

n Parrots in captivity can live between 40 and 100 years depending on species.

n There are 358 species of parrot, which include cockatoos, lovebirds, lorikeets and budgerigars.

n They are distributed through the tropical and subtropical regions of both hemispheres, but the largest number of species occur in Australia and the Amazon.

n They tend to live in large flocks and feed on seeds, fruits, nuts, nectar and fungi.

Source: the internet

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