Cockatiel’s lucky escape from diving seagulls

FLOCKS of seagulls often pester him while he works on the quay, but offshore worker John Appleton was taken aback when an exotic cockatiel landed on his shoulder.

The Great Yarmouth grandfather was working on a 15-metre-high fuel tank at Asco’s marine base, in South Denes Road, when the unlikely friendship was formed.

He put the bird - which he has called Lucky - in a cat box away from the marauding seagulls, and the pair have been turning heads at his company ever since.

John, 55, said: “I heard something squawking around when I was up there and he landed just a couple of feet away.

“I said ‘hello’ and held my hand out. He went straight onto my hand and then straight onto my shoulder.

“I’m quite chuffed actually - I couldn’t believe it.

“He must have escaped from somewhere, perhaps from someone’s garden.”

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The fuel terminal operator - who works to refuel ships at the mouth of the Yare - seems to be flavour of the month with Lucky, who likes to perch on his shoulder.

And John hopes to keep the cockatiel - which is native to Australia - as a pet if nobody comes forward to claim it.

Lucky is being well looked after in Asco’s offices, where he has been flapping around, perching on the TV and pooing on the office chair.

“One of the lads had a cat box in the warehouse - we didn’t want to put him in a cardboard box or he wouldn’t be able to see where he was,” revealed John. “I think he’s quite contented here.

“He was stressed this morning but we got him back to the office and he quietened down.

“The girls were all over him in the main office.”

He has been giving Lucky apples, and plans to go to a pet shop for a bird cage and more advice on what cockatiels like to eat.

And he says he is not bothered about stick from his co-workers, as Lucky would make the perfect addition to his Blackfriars Road home.

“There will be some gip from the other lads, no doubt,” he said with a smile.

“I’ve called him Lucky as it’s the best name for him - he had a lucky escape from all the seagulls diving and going after him.”

In his 24 years working for Asco, John has seen many a seagull, pigeons and even the odd squirrel.

“But it’s the first time we’ve ever heard of something like this,” he said.