Tuneful parrot’s joy at reunion with owner and canine pal after going missing in Greater Manchester

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Ernie has quickly settled into his old routine back home with owner Alison Roberts and best friend Lottie.

A cockatiel who loves breaking out into song has been reunited with his owner and his ‘bestie’ - a cockapoo cross dog.

Ernie has quickly settled into his old routine back home with owner Alison Roberts after the RSPCA issued a missing appeal when he was found straying in a Greater Manchester street last November. While the chatty parrot was glad to be back with Alison at her home in Great Lever, Bolton, his first target of love and attention was the family’s dog, Lottie, whom he has struck a long-standing friendship with.

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Amazingly, despite vanishing from his home in stormy weather, Ernie survived uninjured in the wild, before he was picked up by a member of the public near a bench in the Kearsley area. Over Christmas and the new year, he was cared for by one of the RSPCA’s foster carers, who captured his tuneful renditions on a phone video. 

Her footage of Ernie singing his favourite song “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands” was spotted by Alison on a local media Facebook post - and the RSPCA was able to reunite her with her much-loved bird.

Ernie has quickly settled into his old routine back home with cockapoo cross Lottie.Ernie has quickly settled into his old routine back home with cockapoo cross Lottie.
Ernie has quickly settled into his old routine back home with cockapoo cross Lottie. | RSPCA

“It’s an absolute miracle we’ve got him back as I thought something had happened to him and we wouldn’t see him again, it was so upsetting when he went,” admitted Alison. “Now he’s back with the love of his life, Lottie. As soon as he saw her he reacted; I let him out of his cage and he was sitting on her back and riding around. It was like old times as we’re used to him just following her around everywhere!

“He’s such a loving and attentive bird. He comes out of his cage at night and we spend time interacting with him and treating him as one of the family. We’ve had him for two-and-a-half years, it was the first time we’ve had a bird as a pet and we don’t regret it as Ernie’s got such a great personality.

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“On the night we lost him, Lottie was in the kitchen waiting to go out for a wee and I didn’t see Ernie was on her back as the dog was underneath the table. I was calling for him in the nights in the days after in the hope he’d fly back in. 

“When I saw the video I knew straight away it was him. I’ve bought a new cage for him as I was so upset when he disappeared that I got rid of his old one - I couldn’t bear to have it in the lounge as it was so heartbreaking. I can’t thank the RSPCA enough for getting him back to me and the person who found him. At the time I didn’t report it, but it’s clear that more people should report birds going missing as this just shows how they can be found and reunited with their owners.”

RSPCA animal rescue officers Helen Chapman and Lee Ferrans organised Ernie’s foster care after he was found and his transportation back home to Bolton.

Lee said: “It was a really happy sight to see when I brought him into the family’s home in his cage. Lottie's tail was wagging and her nose was right up against Ernie’s cage, while he was dancing side to side frantically, chirping away and touching noses with Lottie. It was amazing to see the relationship this bird has with the dog. It was clear that they were both so happy to see each other again. Alison was overjoyed and she also made a kind donation to the RSPCA.”

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