Dublin Airport and supermarket Lidl have made unlikely partners in the rescue of an adult African grey parrot which was found wandering around on the transport hub’s busiest runway.
The airport’s official Twitter account shared a picture of the female bird and an appeal to track down her owners on Tuesday after rescuing it on Sunday.
The tweet said: “Our firefighter Craig Wade found this African grey parrot during a routine runway inspection earlier this week.
“She’s being given specialist care & is calm & doing well. We’d like to reunite her with her owner. Please RT to help us find them & DM us if she is yours.”
Paul O’Kane, communications director at Dublin Airport, said firefighter Craig Wade found the bird on the runway while carrying out a routine inspection for “foreign object debris”.
“Craig was down at the eastern end of the main runway used by 90% of flights when he spotted something.”
He got out of his vehicle to find the foreign object was actually an adult parrot happily walking along the runway.
“While it was designed for take-offs and landings, it’s not particularly designed for African grey parrots,” he added.
As parrots are not native to Ireland, Mr Wade quickly realised it was a pet and he “needed to persuade it to move”, Mr O’Kane continued.
After a brief and unsuccessful pursuit, the bird flew on to the firefighter’s vehicle before hopping into a makeshift carrying box with air holes and water.
“Once they had her there they wanted to get their vehicle off the runway as quickly as possible,” said Mr O’Kane.
After contacting animal experts, Dublin Airport appealed to help find the bird’s owners on Twitter, and Lidl was quick to respond.
“Guys this is going to sound unbelievable but there’s a ‘Missing Parrot’ poster in one of our stores, so we called the number to check and it’s his parrot! We’ll drop you a DM now,” said the supermarket.
A Lidl Ireland spokesman said the poster had been on display in the chain’s Finglas store, some 2.5 miles (4km) away, for a few days before the parrot was found.
“When we saw the tweet from Dublin Airport yesterday, we couldn’t believe our eyes,” he added.
Both Lidl and Dublin Airport are working to reunite the parrot with its owner, using the bird’s ID tag, although a number of people had come forward to claim her as their pet.
It is still not clear how the parrot made her way to the runway, especially as Dublin Airport has “a wide variety of bird-scaring techniques”, said Mr O’Kane, including “kites designed to look like hawks” and “shotgun-type noises”.
“Clearly none of these seemed to have much impact in frightening this particular bird,” he said, which “seemed relatively content when Craig came across her”.
Mr O’Kane and the Lidl spokesman promised to update the public when the parrot had been safely reunited with her owner.