An exotic bird which escaped from his home has been found safe and well after surviving in the wild through Britain’s harsh winter for — FIVE MONTHS.
Male cockatiel Charley flew out of his owner’s window when he was spooked by a seagull last October.
Devastated Eileen Finn, 39, made desperate appeals to find the grey and yellow bird but had given up all hope of ever finding him alive.
But amazingly her beloved pet – native to the arid outback of Australia – is back in her warm kitchen after being found just two miles away.
Three-year-old Charley survived blizzards, snow storms and sub-zero temperatures throughout Britain’s harshest winter for decades.
Charley was spotted on a wall 1.8miles from Eilieen’s home and taken to a local vet where he was checked and given the all clear.
The vets launched an appeal in a local newspaper and Charley and Eileen have now been reunited.
Eileen, of Torquay, Devon, said: ”I am stunned how Charley has managed to survive the brutal winter for so long.
”I haven’t a clue how he got through all that cold weather. I’m just so glad he did. While he was away I used to think I could hear him whistling. That’s how daft I got about it.
”I once travelled 20 miles to see a cockatiel which had been found – but it wasn’t Charley. ”I just could not believe it when there was a picture of him in the newspaper.”
Eileen used to allow Charley to flit around her home out of his cage but he escaped after being startled by a screeching seagull and flew out of a window on October 14.
She put up posters trying to find him to no avail until he was found last Thursday on Manscombe Road – 1.8miles from her home in Torwood Gardens Road.
Experts believe the hardy bird managed to survive by seeking shelter from the foul weather and feeding on seeds.
A spokesman for the Greenbay Veterinary Centre in Torquay said: ”This is an incredible tale of survival.
”It was a very harsh winter and Charley would have been forced to find food and avoid many predators.
”We are amazed he has survived. He may have foraged, but there is a possibility he was taken in by someone else and escaped again.
”But we’ll never really know what happened or how the bird made it through five months – we are just glad to have reunited him with his owner.”
The cockatiel – real name nymphicus hollandicus – are second only in popularity as bird pets to the budgerigar.
They are native to Australia where they are found largely in arid or semi-arid country always near water. They can live up to 20 years.