Angus the High Speed Parrot

Angus is a male eclectus parrot who became famous after his video premier on YouTube. Unfortunately his fame was not due to his good looks, talking ability, tricks performed,  or for just being cute. Instead, the videos are of Angus hanging on to a windshield wiper for dear life as the car to which the wipers are attached speed down a highway at 60 miles per hour. Yes you heard me right, someone was trying to use Angus as a hood ornament.




Hundreds, if not thousands, of parrot owners became outraged upon seeing this video, myself included. Petitions were posted online, discussions carried out on forums, and links were passed around like wildlife. Anger spread as we heard that Angus might not even be owned by Justin Lawther, who filmed the videos while driving. Apparently Lawther had found the parrot one morning, and decided to keep it. In December, the Chatters family lost their beloved family pet – a green bird named Angus. They put up signs and placed ‘lost’ ads everywhere, to no avail. As the story of the speeding bird named Angus spread, Carrie Chatters tried in vain to contact anyone that may get her in touch with Lawther, so that she could get her bird back.

Meanwhile, Lawther was frightened by the extensive negative criticism, faded into the background. A group of people managed to make contact with him, by which time he readily admitted he had ‘made a mistake’ and ‘not thought his actions through’ with Angus and the car rides. Lawthers has supposedly owned birds in the past and was taking adequate car of Angus, except for the whole using-a-parrot-as-a-car-hood-ornament.

Angus was seized by the Victoria  RSPCA who felt that it was in the birds best interest not to be returned to Lawther, and is still considering pressing animal cruelty charges. Angus is currently in foster care at an undisclosed location and is receiving medical care for a condition that appears to be unrelated to his car capades.  Meanwhile, this story takes another interesting turn, as ownership of Angus is finally clearly established. Microchip papers firmly established the fact that Angus was legally purchased in September, and that he does not have the physical characterists, nor the microchimp number of the missing eclectus sought by Carrie Chatters.

Angus with an RSPCA inspector

The Committee To Save Angus, spearheaded by local Aussie Mel Vincent, has been a great help in uncovering facts about this disturbing story. Mel states that she does not believe Justin Lawther is a bad bird owner, whom she has spoken to several times. Lawther apparently has knowledge of parrots and the proper keeping of them as pets – his vet will also testify that Angus was well cared for and Lawthers did not appear to be a bad bird owner.

All facts aside, I am extremely happy that Angus is safe and that Lawther has seen the error of his ways. Lawther is now protesting the seizure of Angus, and is lobbying to get his bird back. However, this story raises the ultimate question: if an owner takes fairly good care of his birds, but commits one fatal error, does that make him incompetent?

I personally feel like a well educated person would realize the danger of the situation that Lawther put his beloved bird through. I do not feel that Lawther is a bad person, and he may indeed love his bird. However, some mistakes can just not be undone.


Emily May 26, 2011 Bird News, Blog, Eclectus, Featured