With her razor-sharp talons, Sarg gently climbs her way up Barry Morrison’s pant leg to her usual perch atop his shoulder.
For more than 15 years, the companions have become a regular fixture in Esquimalt where they live. Morrison can often be seen walking or riding his bike with his colourful female military macaw on his shoulder.
When they attend public events, they wind up starring as the main attraction.
“I counted more than 155 people (taking our picture) in two hours one time, and that is just the ones I saw,” Morrison recalls.
Sarg revels in the attention since she is a very social creature.
“I say, ‘let’s go’ and she’ll fly into the bedroom so I can put the harness on,” Morrison says.
They have been together since Morrison’s ex-wife bought Sarg from a Crofton pet store when the bird was one-and-a-half years old. When Sarg regurgitated her food and presented it to Morrison as a gift, he knew she’d bonded to him for life.
“I don’t let her do that anymore,” he says with a grin. “It’s rejuvenated food and it isn’t too appetizing.”
From her perch on Morrison’s shoulder, Sarg reaches around and repeatedly nips the bridge of her owner’s nose or earlobe every few minutes – her way of bestowing kisses, which Morrison says aren’t painful at all.
Sarg has other human-like qualities that make her a unique house pet.
She snuggles with plush toys, and can speak a few words, such as her name and “pretty bird,” and a few others she picked up at the pet store that Morrison doesn’t care to repeat.
Sarg can laugh and “quite often when I drink water, she will imitate a burp,” Morrison says.
Like other pets, Sarg is prone to begging at the supper table. She eyes Morrison from her perch on the back of the couch, expectantly waiting to nibble at a pork chop bone, or some leftover spaghetti – one of her favourite dishes unless there are onions in the sauce.
“She won’t eat onions … just eats around them,” Morrison says chuckling.