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A bird that was trapped in an airport for three months delivered an emotional three-word phrase when reunited with its owner.
Cockatoo Charlie was originally left behind in Pennsylvania when its owner Jess Adlard moved to the UK in November last year.
The bird had been living with Adlard since December 2019 and was expected to arrive in Britain nine months after her start date.
However, the bird was held in customs at Heathrow Airport, London, in September instead.
After months of wrangling with the authorities, Charlie was eventually given the all-clear to join Adlard and her husband Joe, with the bird delivering an emotional phrase when the family was reunited.
Speaking to SWNS after the reunion, Adlard said: “I feel relief and joy … I feel so complete.”
She continued: “He has coped brilliantly. I didn’t expect to be hearing ‘I love you’ for a month or two at least.
“Charlie is a tough little guy. He is settling in great and has exceeded every expectation.”
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Adlard, a 33-year-old ex-pharmacy technician, described how Charlie was originally held up after the authorities said “the original export permit was missing” – despite it being with the bird when he left the US.
In order to get customs clearance, the couple had already spent around £5,000 ($6,000).
According to The New York Post, the Home Office – the department responsible for immigration and security – said wildlife coming into the country was subject to “strict domestic and international law”.
In a statement, the agency said: “Where required documentation isn’t presented, Border Force can seize pets.”
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It added: “We take the welfare of animals in our care seriously and those in our protection are looked after in suitable facilities by trained staff, with specialist veterinary care available if required.”
But with Charlie back with his family, how is he getting on?
Adlard said: “He likes his new digs pretty well.
“I have been whistling to him, and we have been bobbing our heads together.”
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