A few weeks ago we told you about our Facebook friend Sparrow, an African Grey Parrot with pet travel plans to fly from South Africa to London (she's not a PetRelocation customer, but we've loved following her story just the same). Our experience has taught us that shipping birds isn't easy, so we're happy to report that Sparrow has made it to her new home safe and sound!
Sparrow's owner Taryn recently filled us in on the details of the trip. Even though they planned carefully they still encountered a few curve balls, so heed the advice below if you're planning to travel with a bird anytime in the future.
Here's what Taryn had to say:
Sparrow is doing very very well! Poor thing arrived back at our house in Newbury late Monday night to find out we had no heating! Quick stop off to Tesco's and after cleaning them out of fan heaters, we all started to warm up. She was a puffed up ball of feathers for two days but soon adjusted to the change in temperature, especially when the house was able to start heating up again. We ordered her a new cage on Tuesday as hers is still being shipped, and she is loving the new one! Much bigger than her South African one so she is enjoying being an acrobat now!
Everyone involved in her relocation has been absolutely wonderful! Brett Russell at the Bryanston Veterinary Clinic, The Animal Travel Agency, Virgin Atlantic, South African State Vet, DEFRA, AHIT, the ARC and even (in the end) the UK customs office.
The best advice we can give future pet owners would be: 1.) do your homework 2.) paperwork is vital 3.) follow up and do not leave anything to chance 4.) communication is key!
We very nearly hit a brick wall when we landed in the UK at 9 a.m. Monday morning, and by 5 p.m. that evening Sparrow had still not been given the clear by customs. It took a trip back to Heathrow and a few explanations to the wrong people before we found the correct person from the CITES department to speak to to eventually clear her and get her released.
This was due to the fact that we were not informed that we needed her original UK CITES form in order for customs to release her. We had asked that the form be kept in the UK with the relevant department as post is very intermittent in South Africa. We later found the form back at our house in Newbury with the rest of the post, so at least we can give customs the form in the next few days. They explained that the form is vital if we need to move Sparrow again (which we will be doing next year as we plan to take her to Ethiopia with us).
Sparrow has now made history by being the first parrot to fly Virgin Atlantic!
Thank you once again for all your interest and enthusiasm shown in Sparrow's first adventure!
Congrats to Sparrow and her family, and good luck in the UK!