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You see a lot of weird and wonderful sights at the National Trust for Scotland’s (NTS) centre at Glenfinnan, but perhaps none quite so colourful as one recent exotic avian visitor, writes Ribh O’Neill.
On a recent Friday staff and visitors were treated to an appearance by Motley the
Macaw, quite possibly the world’s most famous Instagram influencer parrot.
Motley – Instagram handle @motleys_adventurez – was on his holidays with owner Chloe Brown.
Chloe, a zoo biology student and part-time employee at The Royal School for the Deaf Derby, hand-reared Motley the harlequin macaw from when he was about 21 weeks old.
Chloe decided to train Motley to fly free without any restraints after researching its mental and physical benefits both for owner and bird.
She also strongly believes its is cruel to keep such long-lived birds locked in cages or to clip their wings.
Allowing Motley to do what he was born to do by flying free has also created a strong bond between him and his young owner.
Whilst Motley is on a strict training regime to ensure he can be a top level free flier, on his days off from scouring the Peak District, he goes on adventures with Chloe and his recent trip to the Highlands saw him even canoeing on Loch Tay.
In Glenfinnan visitors are more likely to encounter eagles than majestic macaws, however with the positive public relations success stemming from Motley’s visit, perhaps the skies over the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct, which featured in the Harry Potter films, will soon be filled with brightly coloured parrots rather than eagles or Arthur Weasley’s flying Ford Anglia.
When asked for advice about owning a macaw, Chloe opened up about the
potential downfalls: ‘They’re loud, destructive and expensive. Our lives revolve around our birds, we have a whole bedroom for them, along with a netted garden.
‘With Macaws living to around 50 years of age and needing a lot of time, money and effort to look after, perhaps these beautiful birds aren’t for everyone. Even so, it’s great to live in a world where you can take even the strangest of pets with you on holiday!’