DNA test to check if bird is one of three stolen from butterfly house

Missing Seaforde parrot
Missing Seaforde parrot

The Co Down family which had three parrots stolen and then returned is to carry out a DNA test on one of them to determine if it is really theirs.

Three parrots were stolen from the Seaforde Butterfly House in south Down on Monday, along with a number of terrapins.

Two of the birds were returned to the Forde family business by an anonymous man who met them in Lisburn.

Police found a third parrot in Newtownards but the Fordes are divided on whether it is really their ‘Pedro’.

“We have got this bird very like Pedro and some of us say 100 per cent it is Pedro but the rest of us are not entirely convinced. The police found it in Newtownards,” said Charles Forde.

“Personally I don’t think it is him.

“When he came back he was totally out of character, he was so well behaved. But he is normally quite aggressive and maybe has more yellow on his shoulders.

“He used to make so much noise – you wouldn’t really want to put your hand near him.

“We have got the original feathers so we are hoping to do a DNA test to see if it is really him.

“I don’t want to deprive someone of their parrot if it is not ours.

“I am trying to get a vet to look into this but they are just away at the moment.”

He appealed: “Contact the police if you know where Pedro is. I just feel so sorry for the bird. If you were used to a certain place for most of your life it would be quite disturbing to be just taken away.

“We are very attached to them. What we plan to do in future is to get them all micro-chipped and to keep a blood sample in order to identify them more easily if this should happen again.”

The parrots can sell for between £200 to £800 with a tame hand-reared one worth over £1,000.

The theft has taken “quite a bit” out of his mother, Lady Anthea Forde.

“She was quite relived to get these two back. The place was so quiet without them,” he said.

The other two birds which were returned were Jack and Harry.

“Jack is missing an eye. We don’t know how it happened.

“One of his favourite phrases is ‘what’s wrong with the parrot’s eye?’ because he has heard it so many times from visitors. He is very sociable.

“Harry is quite different. He would just sit there and look so calm. But actually he was just looking for the chance to bite you for a bit of fun.”

Jack is a small African Grey, Harry is a larger African Grey and Pedro is a blue Amazon.

“Harry is a very good mimic. He does the beeps counting down from the news and also whistles the start of Colonel Bogey before turning it into something like Frank Zappa.”

The original owners of the three birds were all very close to the parrots but are now deceased. Charles says the birds now all enjoy being in each other’s company instead.

The family started the Butterfly House in 1988 as an added attraction to their nursery garden. Now it houses a wide variety of birds, many butterflies and a range of other exotic insects.