Prestonpans parrot: A local pet parrot has been bringing a smile to local's faces in East Lothian
During a normal stroll during lockdown, you may see many of your neighbours walking their dogs, sometimes even a cat, but perhaps it would be fair to say you are less likely to see a large, greenwing macaw stretching her wings.
However, this is exactly what you would see if you head to the waterfront in the East Lothian town of Prestonpans.
Local Cole Doran has trained his pet parrot, named Orion, to sit on his shoulder, and to spread her wings to free fly around the beach before coming back to him.
He explained: “ On a normal day I fly Orion at our local beach, but when the weather is perfect and we have time I take her to more fun locations.
"She has flown from Arthur's seat, Berwick Law, Traprain Law and has even been to locations in the highlands, peak district and London.
"When covid restrictions lift I'll be taking her all over the place as she really enjoys exploring new places.”
The 21-year-old had always wanted a pet Macaw and had settled on a Greenwing Macaw due to their reputation for being ‘quiet, gentle giants’ – although this didn’t quite pan out with Orion who has quite the personality.
“Orion has turned out to be a loud, playful and occasionally a gentle giant” Cole laughed, adding that the bright bird had a playful habit of trying to steal the shoes of anyone who tried to enter their house.
Cole had owned a budgie when he was younger, and was delighted to get Orion, who is now almost four years old, and around five generations from the wild.
"Their intelligence and longevity is what drew me to them.
"My family and friends like her, although most are a bit nervous of her big beak.
"I don't think any of them quiet believed me when I said I was going to get such a large parrot!
“It never felt right to keep one without giving it freedom, so I looked into if it was possible to train them to fly free without flying away long before I got Orion.
"When Orion came home I got help from other parrot free flyers in the UK and online help from around the world to get Orion in the air safely.
"She achieved her first successful free flights in August 2018 at one and a half years old.”
When Cole and Orion wander down to the beach on their walks, and flights, they often draw a lot of attention from passers by who do a swift double take.
He said: “Most people are surprised that she's real when they first see her and are pretty amazed.
"She'll sometimes get chatty or show off her tricks when people stop us.
"It's a bit embarrassing when people stop to ask about her but we're both used to it now, her bright colours are perfect camouflage in the rainforest but useless when she's on my shoulder.”
The video above shows Orion in free flight, coming back to Cole when she’s done.