Birthday bird Martin loves a Pringle!

Martin the 27 year old Cockatiel with 91 year old owner Irene Snowden
Martin the 27 year old Cockatiel with 91 year old owner Irene Snowden
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MARTIN the sprightly cockatiel celebrates his 27th birthday this year - and it seems a daily Pringle crisp is what keeps him on the perch.

The cockatiel, which belongs to Hackenthorpe grandmother Irene Snowden, could be one of the oldest in Sheffield as the birds have an average lifespan of around just 15 years.

Proud Irene, aged 91, has loved companion Martin since he was a tiny chick of six months.

She said: “I am quite surprised he is this old!”

Pringle crisps are Martin’s favourite, somewhat unusual, snack and he has one to peck at most days in the afternoon.

Irene’s daughter Barbara Lockwood, of Rotherham, said: “He loves Pringles.

“He has one most days and he loves toast for his breakfast.

“Martin can still fly but he doesn’t come out very much now.”

Martin was bought from a friend of the family who had his own aviary back in 1985.

He used to love landing on the heads of Irene’s grandchildren when they visited as youngsters and he was let out of his cage.

The bird has grown a bit quieter and also lost some of his feathers in recent years.

He will reach the grand old age of 27, older than Irene’s eldest grandson, in May.

But Irene added: “He still speaks, he says his name Martin and ‘give us a chip’ or ‘give us a kiss’ but it’s catching him at it that’s the problem.”

In captivity the lifespan of a cockatiel is 15 to 20 years.

Steve Spink, owner of Gleadless Pets store on White Lane, said: “The average age for a cockatiel in captivity is 15 to 20 years so this one is quite unusual!

“But the oldest confirmed cockatiel died at 36.

“Diet and exercise are the main factors in the lifespan. Birds do like crackers, they say Polly loves a cracker, and anything they can get their beaks on. It’s also important for them to exercise and have companionship.”

l Do you have a cockatiel older than Martin? Or an astonishingly old pet? Ring The Star Newsdesk on 0114 252 1309?