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On February 24th, 2014, the managers at UK's Legoland Windsor Resort sent out an unusual casting call across the nation. They were seeking a parrot that would 'shiver their timbers' for their new Pirate Shores attraction. Pet owners were asked to apply by sending a photo and a short convincing essay on why their bird was the 'Ultimate Parrot Pirate'.
After sifting through the applications, the judges selected four finalists and invited them for a live interview on March 10th. Among them was Tracey, a Scarlet Macaw, who showcased her tremendous 'pirate' skills by sniffing out the goodies that had been hidden under coconut shells and then making a rapid getaway, on a tiny scooter.
Also in contention was Zico a Green-winged Macaw. The bird that weighed 1.4 kilos (3.08 lbs) was not just the biggest, but also, the smartest of the fab four. He first gained the trust of the judges by helping them with guest check out. Then, when no one was looking, the crafty bird took off with a trolley load of Lego pieces. Though he did not get very far, it was sure worth a try.
Then there was Jethro, a Hybrid Macaw who at 20 was the youngest of the lot and therefore, the most daring. He just decided to go straight for the gold coins and deposit them one at time into his locked treasure chest.
Though the contestants were all super impressive, it was 32-year-old Charlie that wowed the judges the most. He pulled the ultimate pirate trick by rolling over and pretending to be dead! The judges said that Blue and Yellow Macaw was picked because he seemed to demonstrate an extra touch of 'pirate-y mischief'. As it turns out, they are absolutely right. According to Charlie's owner Peter Bloom, the crafty bird has many other tricks up her sleeve or should we say wing? Among them are destructive chewing and loud vocalization!
Charlie will begin his job, which entails meeting and greeting Legoland visitors over the upcoming Easter break when the new attraction opens to the public. No word on whether his contract will be renewed after the holidays or whether he will be paid in anything other than sunflower seeds!
Resources: guardian.co.uk, legoland.co.uk