20 NOVEMBER 1926, Page 15


A rather unusual experience of an " aviculturist " in the neighbourhood of Peterborough suggests that long periods of captivity spoils the natural instinct of birds. A tame parrot, often allowed comparative freedom out of doors, suddenly disappeared in recent stormy weather, and after a search of sonic two weeks was given up for lost. Late, but at last, news was received. The parrot had flown to a village rather more than three miles away and after avoiding a bombardment of several days by the stones of most of the local youths, des- cended to a chicken coop in a farmyard and allowed the farmer's wife to catch him. The bird was in poor condition and, one would think, would have quite certainly returned to its home if it had known the way, as any wild bird would have known it. The bird's age is known to be not less than forty years, so its vagrancy was not due to youth or inexperience. Like a good many parrots it has long been remarkable for its very fickle likes and dislikes, which depend not at all on long acquaintanceship. It has always, for example, been petulant and untrustworthy with its mistress in spite of a twenty years' acquaintanceship. On the other hand, it took an immediate liking to the farmer's wife directly