Anorak News | Doing Bird

Doing Bird

by | 3rd, September 2003

‘FOOTBALLERS have fans, anoraks have enthusiasts, the Sun has paedophiles on every park bench and parrots have fanciers.

The parrot who sang like a canary

And the parrot fancier of the day, the champion among this niche demographic is Lee Gardiner, a man who makes the cover of today’s Times, along with a shameless photograph of an Amazona aestiva, a South American Amazon parrot of no known name.

The paper finds no evidence that shots of parrots have been circulated via the Internet, and no fading pop star or TV light-entertainer has been taken into custody.

This is the story of one sick obsessive who worked alone.

Lee Gardiner is his name, and yesterday Maidstone Crown Court heard how, while working as a banker, he transferred money from elderly and disabled clients into his own account in order to fund his passion for rare birds.

Most ingrate bankers and City types’ idea of an exotic bird is catching Ukrainian dancer Ogle Olga at the Tart And Filofax pub – but Gardiner likes his birds with feathers.

In all, he stole around £2.1m, spending £450,000 on tropical parrots and cockatoos and £250,000 on 20 luxury aviaries – oh, and he splashed out what was left on a fleet of high-performance cars and four homes.

It’s a shame he never found space in his diseased heart for our own domestic feathered friends. And we ask: What’s the matter, Lee, British birds not good enough for you? Snob!

Well, they’re good enough for the patriotic Guardian, which trumps the Times’ dalliance with exotica with a great tit in profile.

But don’t be surprised if you don’t see one in reality because they are dying.

The paper says that the British Trust for Ornithology have spotted that 29 of the 105 main UK bird species are in decline.

So let’s act before it’s too late.

If you see a sparrow getting into a car with a stranger or a greater spotted woodpecker taking grain from a man carrying a large net, tell the authorities immediately.

This is a cancer that must be cut out!’

Posted: 3rd, September 2003 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink