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Biscuit’s Great Escape - The Conclusion

Sam Williams, PhD | Mar 13, 2012


Biscuit was alive. It was incredible because breaking his leg at such a young age would have normally resulted in his very own personal extinction. Back then he couldn’t even feed himself, but despite his many and malicious protests the parrot team persevered and Biscuit as a result had not died a slow and painful death. Hurrah for the Echo team!

It was not all rosy though and Biscuit’s not-dying had come at a heavy cost. He was a prisoner. Biscuit was an optimist, however, and he knew his situation wasn’t as bad as that of some of the other parrots he had met. Bruce, Bob Mad Max and Thatcher all had broken wings, which Biscuit, being a vastly intelligent parrot, knew was a bad thing for a bird. Billy the kid had been shot through his wing in the part equivalent to the human hand and that too could be considered a bad thing. Worst of all it hadn’t been their fault.

It was of course the goats and donkeys that had caused these broken wings! Because Bonaire is so green you, Dear Reader, would be forgiven for thinking this is a wild accusation and that the habitat is in great shape. But those introduced mammalian herbivores have caused such a reduction in the variety of parrot feeding plants on Biscuit’s island home that great gaps in food availability result. It is in these times of hardship when the parrots come to town. This of course is when they bounce off cars, fly into telegraph wires or ironically get shot for eating the mangoes of a goat farmer.

There was no sign of a limp as Biscuit moved along the branch on the morning of his great escape. One of the other parrots was whistling their Great Escape ditty and there were just the right number of clouds in the sky. The flock had done their homework meticulously and concluded that they had to make their bid for freedom on a “branches” day. On those days the door, through which the humans entered the aviary, opened more often and for longer. It was exactly in one of those moments that Biscuit would lead the others in a terrifying drop from the high perch and out of the door. The humans would not see what had happened until Biscuit was already free.

After the intensive weeks of studying the human’s routine it came as quite a shock when the humans put the feeding bowls in the wrong place. Biscuit and his friends could not understand why on that sunny morning the food bowls were sitting on a shelf outside the aviary. Wild parrots flew over the aviary and up and down the valley of Parrotopia and Biscuit feared they might eat his breakfast. Biscuit was concerned. They had everything planned out. They were ready to escape and the humans were screwing it up.

Perry looked puzzled and he leaned over to Biscuit. Just as he was about to say something a strange little door, which Biscuit realised he had not noticed before, slowly and mysteriously opened. What a coincidence that this door would open next to the feeding bowls.

After exchanging more puzzled looks Biscuit and his friend Perry flew to the branch nearest the food bowl and open door. The others were right behind them. Biscuit stepped out on to the shelf. Twiggy, who had very nearly starved to death before joining the Echo flock, flew over. She saw the food and in that moment the significance of what was happening was lost on her. As Twiggy gorged, Biscuit tried to make sense of it. He had stepped closer to the edge of the shelf and a tingle of excitement and fear raced through his body. He couldn’t make sense of it, nor could he wait any longer. So with his wings fully stretched Biscuit launched himself from the shelf and reclaimed his freedom. Hurrah for Biscuit!

It was an explosion of joy. Biscuit screamed euphorically for all he was worth. The others, Perry, Twiggy, Isla and Johan, and the two juveniles instantly felt the tingle as well. Perry almost knocked Twiggy from her food bowl as he scrambled to launch himself. Biscuit was now flying around making arcing turns and moving up and down. Perry too seized his chance and dove into the endless open sky. Hurrah for Perry!

Even the food could not keep Twiggy and so for the first time in her life she flew in a world without boundaries. Hurrah for Twiggy! All the while each of the parrots called out, and then called out some more. The excitement and fear in that moment was indescribable.

The young parrots flew like fledglings. Their rapid and shallow wing beats and their calls brought tears to the eyes of even the most hardened Echo team member. In that instant everything had changed. Biscuit now had 30, 40 maybe 50 years of freedom ahead of him.

Biscuit was just one of over 100 parrots and parakeets that the Echo team have been caring for. Dear Reader do please take a moment to consider what Biscuit’s great escape will mean for him, just as it will for each of these 100 birds. Rather than living a life in prison Biscuit will now be able to fly wherever he chooses across Bonaire. Biscuit will taste Shimaruku cherries straight off the branch. He will be free to choose his mate and one day he will get to make love in the treetops. Hurrah for Biscuit making love in the treetops!