Lincolnshire Wildlife Park hatches plot to tame swearing parrots
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Five fowl-mouthed parrots who have been in isolation because of their swearing problem are now on parole and living the good life with the rest of the flock.
It’s all part of a cunning plan hatched by the park’s Chief Executive Steve Nichols to coax the parrots caught squawking expletives at visitors to ‘dilute the swearing’.
Lincolnshire Wildlife Park made global headlines in 2020 after staff first removed five African greys from public display – and interest in the famous five remains high.
However, three more parrots started swearing, which prompted the change in tactics.
Now Billy, Tyson, Eric, Jade and Elsie and three new swearing parrots have joined 192 others in a smart high-rise aviary, which has been a project over the winter period.
“It’s early days but so far so good,” said Steve. “The parrots are very distracted at the moment trying to work out where they are in their new houses.
"I’ve hear one or two swear words as we’ve walked past but generall I seem to be hearing more of the electronic noises, such as microwaves and gaming machines .
"What we are hoping for is that the eight learn from the 92 and not the other way round.
”But the general public do like the swearing – abd we’ve heard them making a few choice words.
"We’re not against it but we do try to discourage it.
"Parrots make a lot of common noises and one of the most common noises that we’ve seen change over the past 15 years is every single African grey can do a microvwave noise because everyone has a microwave – although over the last six months the microwave has been overtaken by the air fryer.”
The new aviary is four and a half metres high so they don’t feel so submissive and can be themselves a little more.
"Every aviary we build we add some modifications and this one has underfloor heating in the housing area plus a new feeding system.
"The idea is to get the colonies as big as we can so there is safety in numbers – and that’s how parrots work.”
This year promotion of the park as a charity is more important than ever following a rise in costs.
To counteract energy bills the park has invested in £100,000 of solar energy to save £30-£50,000 a year, incinarators have been fitted to reduce the need for skips to waste away, saving £20,000 a year, but the money saving tactics have been wiped out by a national wage increase.
"This means the charity starts this year at a lower level,”said Steve.
"You can’t just depend on word of mouth anymore – we have to reach a wider audience so stories like our swearing parrots are great for us.
"We are hoping this year to increase our social media income by 40 to 50 per cent so that gives the charity more security.”
In spite of the challenges, Steve says he remains aware that times are hard for families. With that in mind he is offering children go free deals for the whole of February, including the half term holiday.
For more details and to make a donation, visit www.lincswildlife.com/