Pixie the parrot has a vocabulary of 2,000 words, but somehow he lacked the ability to screech for help when he was being stolen.
Pixie has a perch outside photographer and owner Paul Barr’s shop in Dunshaughlin, Co. Meath.
But it was a neighborhood watch scheme – and not the bird’s appeals – which helped identify a thief’s getaway car and ensured Pixie was recovered within a half-hour by Gardai (police)
“Text alerts were sent to every household in the village and all the roads were watched, and within 20 minutes someone had seen the car,” Barr said.
The seven-year-old Congo African Grey, a family pet, is loved by villagers passing the shop.
Barr said, “He wolf-whistles at women, he barks at dogs and has a vocabulary of about 2,000 words.
“A customer said he’d seen a fellow running up the street with Pixie and had got into a waiting car.”
CCTV meant details of the vehicle were known within minutes, and the Neighborhood Watch texts circulated an alert. Several men were arrested when Gardai stopped a car.
One of them, Conor Grall from Portland Row in central Dublin, appeared in court on Tuesday. He admitted the theft of the bird and damaging its cage.
Pixie’s owner told the court that he had looked after the parrot for several years. It was normally kept on the street outside his photographic shop on the advice of a vet that the bird had a skin condition and needed constant fresh air.
Barr said Pixie, worth up to €2,000 and which could live to 80 years, was upset for a few days after the theft but was now back outside entertaining the passers-by. Its cage was now secured with a lock and chain to the outside wall of the shop.
Defendant Grall, who is unemployed and single, apologized in court and admitted he already had Pixie sold when he stole him as he knew someone who wanted the bird.
Grall, who had no previous convictions, was given a choice of donating €200 to charity or face a conviction and fine of €500.
The case is due back before the court next month to establish whether Grall has made the donation to charity.