Patrick the parrot back home after 'macaw-ful' ordeal
PATRICK the parrot isn't normally one to ruffle any feathers except his own.
But after his first outing in a new bird flight suit, the three-year-old macaw put his owner Paul Ernst through 24 hours of anxiety and fear when he got stuck in a tree on New Year's Day.
Mr Ernst, who realised his lifelong dream of owning a macaw four months ago, had taken Patrick, or Patty, for his first walk in the backyard early on Tuesday morning.
Revelling in the freedom, Patty soon stretched his wings and took flight over the city - and failed to return home.
"It was the first time he'd been out in the yard when I wasn't holding him," Mr Ernst said.
"He flies from one end of the house to the other just to stretch his wings, but not outside."
After calling his name for hours, Mr Ernst took to social media asking for help finding his "best mate".
Running down several sightings reported on Facebook, Mr Ernst had given up hope Patrick would come home when, about 5pm on Tuesday, heard a distinct call and saw a splash of yellow at the top of the towering pine tree two houses down the road.
"He was calling out 'Bubba, Bubba'," Mr Ernst said, explaining his bird parroted his wife's pet name for himself.
"I flew down there, but it got dark pretty quick."
When Patrick still wouldn't climb down by nightfall, Mr Ernst set up camp at the base of the tree in the hope the three-year-old toilet-trained parrot - who usually sleeps in bed with Mr Ernst - would pluck up the courage and descend.
"He was calling out Paul... and he never calls out Paul unless he's distressed," Mr Ernst said.
Mr Ernst called Queensland Fire and Emergency Services crews on Wednesday morning in a desperate bid to rescue Patrick.
After crews wet him with the fire hose, Patrick flew down to a neighbouring roof from where he was quickly bundled up and taken home.
"He could go from tree to tree, but he was that high in the trees... or he was too worn out to try and land.
"Normally he comes down and lands on my shoulder. I honestly did not think I would ever see him again."
A grateful Mr Ernst delivered a cheesecake to the QFES crew after the rescue.
While the ordeal had a happy ending, Mr Ernst said any big bird owners should learn from his experience and not wait in reporting them missing.