By Helen Le Caplain
Meet the party-mad pet parrot who loves nothing more than cracking open a beer with his owner, watching the footie with the lads and even a cheeky trip to the PUB.
Rocco is so adept at popping the tops off beer bottles with his beak that owner Mike Long can enjoy a pint without ever having to reach for the bottle opener.
And the macaw is such a ‘lad’ that he hangs out with dad-of-three Mike and his pals, sharing bar snacks and watching the football.
Most bizarrely, the parrot has learned to eat like a human using a FORK and, when he’s not eating bird food or veg, is treated to ham and even chicken nuggets.
Heating area service manager Mike from Urmston, Greater Manchester, said: “He tends to want to get involved with whatever I’m doing.
“If I have a few friends round he always wants to get involved and be in the thick of the action when the football’s on.
“If he slips and falls off his perch he’ll say the f-word which isn’t great – that’s something he’s picked it up when we’ve been watching the match.”
Rocco, named after Manchester United defender Marcus Rojo, first became fascinated with opening bottles just before Christmas 2016.
He discovered an unopened beer on the floor next to Mike and hasn’t looked back.
Man United fan Mike, 53, said: “I couldn’t stop laughing when I realised what he was doing. I tried to pick the bottle up but he wouldn’t let go.
“The force of him trying to keep hold of the bottle sent him flying back and he ended up getting beer foam on him which he then tried to lick off the floor.
“Now every time I walk past him with a bottle in my hand he has to open it – you don’t get a moment’s peace.
“If I wanted to open it myself I’d have to go in another room but then he’d squawk until I came back in.”
Not only does the 3ft parrot revel in being one of the lads at home – the two-and-a-half-year-old has even been known to join them on a trip to the PUB and visited Mike’s local, Moss Vale.
Mike said: “I had his wings clipped when he was eight months old on the recommendation of his breeder as he hadn’t mastered the art of take off and landing.
“He kept flying into things including the windows and the conservatory which can be really dangerous and I was concerned about him hurting himself.
“While his wings were clipped he could glide down but couldn’t take off – this gave him time to get used to his surroundings before his feathers grew back.
“We took him down the pub in a cat box and let him out in the beer garden so he could hang out with me and my mates.
“There was no danger in him flying off and he appeared to enjoy himself.
“Most of my mates love him and think it’s a real novelty to watch the match with a parrot but a couple have been a bit scared and sit watching the football from the other room.”
Mike bought Rocco when he was a tiny three-month-old chick and says that he’s proved popular with family and friends who fight over who will petsit him.
Mike said: “When I go away and need someone to look after him I have family and friends fighting over who can have him.
“Sometimes he can be a bit overpowering, this is something that calms down at the age of two and three, but generally speaking he’s well behaved.”
Mike revealed that Rocco can get ‘hangry’ and his appetite-related moods has helped him develop another unusual skill – eating food with a fork.
Mike said: “I started sticking a fork in the food so that he wouldn’t try and snatch it. He then put his claw on the fork and started eating from it.
“He generally eats parrot food, fruit and vegetables but occasionally eats ham and chicken nuggets as a treat.”
Mike said that despite never owning a parrot before, he now can’t imagine not having Rocco in his life.
Mike said: “He’s such a lad – he hangs out with me and my mates and shouts ‘hi’ and ‘bye’ when you come in and go out of the house which I respond to – he’s just part of the house now.”