Feathers fly as RSPCA is called out to a plastic parrot in Preston garden

Bird-lovers got in a right flap when RSPCA inspectors were called to help a parrot suffering in a small cage – only for it to turn out to be an elaborate garden ornament.

By Phil Cunnington
Wednesday, 17th June 2020, 3:14 pm
Updated Wednesday, 17th June 2020, 3:16 pm

The decorative birdcage, complete with its own feathered friend, is one of many on show in Des Connor and Cath Brown’s colourful front garden in Wateringpool Lane, Preston, but while the eye-catching display usually receives compliments, on this one occasion it caused concern.

The RSPCA was contacted with concerns for a parrot being kept in a very small cage in a front garden, and suffering with sore eyes.

RSPCA inspector Vicki McDonald was sent to investigate, experienced in dealing with a range of different animals, but even she was not fully prepared for what awaited her at the property.

The ornamental birdcage in the garden of Des Connor and Cath Brown, Wateringpool Lane, Preston, complete with plastic parrot, which people mistook for a real bird in distress and called out the RSPCA

Vicki said: “In my 20 years as an RSPCA inspector, I have to admit this was a first for me. I’m experienced in dealing with all sorts of animal emergencies, so I had prepared myself for dealing with a real parrot, especially as I could clearly see the white cage swinging from the tree as I arrived.

“Of course, I couldn’t help but chuckle when I peered up into the cage and saw the plastic parrot, with his solar-powered eyes glaring back at me! He wasn’t alone either – there was also a smaller plastic bird on the perch, and a plastic toucan which had fallen off and was lying at the bottom of the cage.

“I do feel sorry for the poor people who were so concerned, but I was glad to be able to contact them and reassure them that there was no need to worry. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, and it’s wonderful to know people in the area care so much for animals.”

Homeowners Des and Cath said: “We spend a lot of time in our garden and really enjoy making it colourful and fun, so we’re used to receiving comments and compliments about it – our garden has even won some local competitions too. But this incident was definitely a first for us – we couldn’t quite believe it when inspector Vicki knocked on our door!

The scene that greeted the RSPCA inspectors

“We enjoy upcycling bits and bobs and in fact, the plastic parrot came from a local shop and the cage from a local charity shop. We thought it would be a fun addition to the garden but never expected it to gain this much attention!

“We love animals, particularly our two pet dogs, and we have plenty of bird feeders in our back garden and try to help visiting wildlife as much as we can. It’s really good to know that people were concerned about what they thought was a real bird in trouble, and that the RSPCA took the time to come out and investigate.”

To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit our website or call our donation line on 0300 123 8181.

The cage was also home to plastic toucan