A CELEBRITY parrot who spent years verbally abusing visitors to a Darlington park has fallen from his perch.
Max, an African Grey parrot, was found dead in the aviary of South Park last Friday (June 20), leaving legions of visitors and staff at the park bereft.
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Prior to his untimely demise, the cheeky chap was best known for his salty language and the tricks he would play on unsuspecting staff.
His exploits were so renowned that they netted him invites to appear on the Paul O’Grady Show and alongside fellow-swearer Gordon Ramsey on the F-Word.
From repeatedly telling people to 'f*** off' to imitating the laughs of his human colleagues and making regular bids for freedom, Max kept everyone who met him on their toes.
“One gardener thought he was facing an expensive garage bill when his car’s central locking kept going on and off but it was Max mimicking it,” said park ranger Debbie Hall, who joined the park’s staff the same week the plucky parrot was donated.
She said: “He was donated in about 2006 and quickly became very popular, he was such a character.
“He loved attention and would focus on one or two words he could easily learn and he’d know if he said them he’d get a big crowd so he’d say them all the time.
“The swearing didn’t make him very popular with our boss as he worried people would be offended but we couldn’t shut him away because he’d get angry and swear even more.
“He was a little swine but we loved him.”
Max was cared for and trained by the park’s team of gardeners and was used as a teaching tool during school visits.
A sculpture of Max close to the aviary will act as a lasting tribute while park rangers are now searching for a new parrot to help keep his memory alive.
Ms Hall said: “He will never be forgotten but we would like to find another parrot to help preserve our aviary and to help us teach children how we care for our birds.
She added: “He was well cared for and spoiled rotten and he will leave a tremendous gap in the park.”
Anyone who could donate a parrot or contribute towards the upkeep of the aviary is asked to contact Ms Hall by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.