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Bold budgie happy to be home

Merlin the budgie
Merlin?The budgie had a very lucky escape.

Bold budgie happy to be home

Could Magical Merlin be the luckiest budgie in Ireland?

Áine Ryan

IT’S a Budgie Tale with a happy ending. This time two years ago, life was tough for Magical Merlin. You could say he was suffering from a bout of the blues. There he was, totally lost and perched forlornly on the roof of yet another house in Westport. Little did he know that hours earlier the human inhabitants – well one of the younger ones – had begged his mother to buy him a pet bird.
“No! It is wrong to keep a bird in a cage,” the mother said. But when hours later she spotted Magical Merlin being battered on the roof by a south-westerly gale, her heart melted.
Although tired and hungry, Magical Merlin was not exactly happy to be fed and then put into a hamster cage. His screeches and squawks were ignored.
Time passed and life improved after his new family bought a proper budgie cage, giving him more space to do what budgies do best: mimic people, in his case on the QT. Even though, by all accounts Merlin is a bad-tempered old bird, he soon became a much-loved member of the family with Finian (14) and Conor (13) Bradwell tending to all his avian needs.
But then disaster struck on April 5, when Merlin managed to fly out of his cage and escape through an open door. Naturally, mum, Fiona, was aghast.
“We rushed outside and saw him sitting in a tree. I called him and he squawked at me. We placed his cage under the tree and he screeched and swooped off down the hill. Nothing for it but to get into the car, me, my husband and son, and drive to Attireesh, just off the Newport Road,” she tells The Mayo News, clearly still not the better of the drama.
The bereft family alerted neighbours, friends. They phoned The Mayo News, Mid-West Radio and Noeleen Haylett at the Animal Rescue Centre in Kilmeena, and while the local gardaí declined to confirm yesterday that they put out an APB (All Points Bulletin), they did say they were alerted to the budgie’s escape too. Reportedly, the case was code-named Operation Parrot.
One day merged into another. A week had passed and still no sign. The weather was cold, wet and windy. The Bradwells were beginning to lose hope of ever finding their bold budgerigar again. Then out of the blue, they got a phonecall.
“A whole week after he’d escaped I got a phone call from a lady in Sheeaune. Her son had found a blue budgie sitting in their driveway … luckily she had seen my notice in The Mayo News. She told me her son, Alan Gibbons, works at the Co-Op and that he had brought the budgie to work with him. Merlin was now being looked after in the pet department,” Fiona explains.
Meanwhile, over in the new state-of-the-art the pet department of the Connacht Gold Co-Op, Merlin was already receiving some ER treatment. Manager Andrea Barrett, along with Alan, had administered a special tonic and, having wrapped Merlin up snugly, placed him in a cage.
In a state of disbelief, the Bradwells rushed to the Lodge Road centre where they found their beloved budgie a little worse for wear after a week on the highways and byways of west Mayo.
“We had seen the ad about Merlin in The Mayo News and when Alan brought him in he was quite worn out and lethargic, but he seemed very relieved when the family arrived,” Andrea Barrett said yesterday.
The Bradwells were also mightily relieved. “We couldn’t believe that after a whole week our budgie had actually been found,” Fiona Bradwell told The Mayo News yesterday. “Unfortunately, he was decidedly worse for wear, rumpled hunched, weak and starving, with a lot of tail feathers missing. Some animal must have tried to get him, but somehow Merlin got away! We took him to the vet just to have him checked over – no serious damage thankfully. He just needed lots of warmth, food, water and love.”
And now with the return of their feathery friend, Fiona says all that is left to say is a warm chirpy-chirpy-cheep-cheep to all who helped find Magical Merlin.

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