‘We take our pet parrots to the pub in Birmingham - they love meeting other people and are like our children’

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A couple from Birmingham tell us about life with their pet parrots who they take every where with them, including visits to the pub for lunch

A couple take their pet parrots to the shops, opticians, supermarket, Chinese takeaway - and the pub.

Anne Spider-McKeown, 64, and partner Spider Spider, 66, who changed his name by deed poll to reflect his love of animals, rescued three Macaws in early 2020.  

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The three birds called Chester, Charlie and Elwood were initially adopted by Anne and Spider after they had to give up their motorbike hobby after coming down with Covid in January 2020. Sadly, Elwood passed away in July last year. 

Spider, 66, and Anne Spider-McKeown, 64, from Birmingham, go about their daily routine with two parrots Charlie a green-winged Macaw and ChesterSpider, 66, and Anne Spider-McKeown, 64, from Birmingham, go about their daily routine with two parrots Charlie a green-winged Macaw and Chester
Spider, 66, and Anne Spider-McKeown, 64, from Birmingham, go about their daily routine with two parrots Charlie a green-winged Macaw and Chester | Anita Maric / SWNS

But Anne and Spider are regularly spotted out and about with Chester and Charlie – going to the supermarket, B&Q and even the local pub - The Sun in Halesowen - together. Spider, from Bartley Green in Birmingham, said: “Whenever we go to a pub for lunch we always take the birds.

“Going out with them turns any shopping trip about three times longer – we don’t mind though, we love people asking questions, it’s great to interact with people. It’s an eye-opener for people, lots of people are gobsmacked that the birds are real and I'm not walking around with a stuffed parrot on my shoulder. 

“Anne loves birds and always wanted a blue and gold Macaw since being a child, so we thought we could rehome a couple as a new hobby. It's like having two three-year-old kids in the house. Charlie used to come with us to all sorts of places and then a bit later we decided we would harness-train Chester so he could have the same element of freedom. 

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“Generally, they’re very happy to interact with people, when they’re both in the right mood they’ll let strangers give them treats – people are surprised they’re so gentle with their big beaks.” 

Spider, 66, and Anne Spider-McKeown, 64, from Birmingham, go about their daily routine with two parrots Charlie a green-winged Macaw and Chester, a blue-and-gold MacawSpider, 66, and Anne Spider-McKeown, 64, from Birmingham, go about their daily routine with two parrots Charlie a green-winged Macaw and Chester, a blue-and-gold Macaw
Spider, 66, and Anne Spider-McKeown, 64, from Birmingham, go about their daily routine with two parrots Charlie a green-winged Macaw and Chester, a blue-and-gold Macaw | Anita Maric / SWNS

The retired couple have made some changes to their garden to accommodate the birds, installing a huge bird net nine feet high outside. They say they wanted to make sure the parrots could have some freedom, so they let them out into the garden under supervision.  

Spider says the birds have big personalities – and says Chester is very protective of Anne, even telling Spider off if he goes near her. And he says he’s been amazed by Charlie’s changed personality – saying the relationship between human and bird is like human and child. 

Spider said: “When we lost Elwood, Charlie was very distraught so I put a lot of work into letting him know he had a friend in me. Now Charlie has become my best pal. Charlie says hello, hello Charlie and will sing in his own way which is something he never did before. 

“Chester will talk more readily than Charlie, when the phone rings Chester is the first to say hello. We have a lot of fun with them,  they’re loveable characters.” 

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