Europe

Small free birds fly, Escobar sings Athenry

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionEscobar has been melting Irish hearts with his rendition of The Fields of Athenry

A three-year-old parrot has nailed his colours firmly to the mast ahead of the Euro 2016 football tournament.

Escobar - a Dublin-born Amazonian bird whose feathers are appropriately green and gold - has been melting hearts with his rendition of The Fields of Athenry.

His owner, Kevin Lawlor, says Escobar "belts out" the Republic of Ireland unofficial soccer anthem during matches.

"He's mad for the football and the singing," said Mr Lawlor.

"He first heard The Fields of Athenry when I was watching a match on the telly a while back.

"I could tell he was trying to learn it, so then I just began playing it to him and singing it to him when he comes to sit on my shoulder.

"I had a party in the house once not long after I got him and he started singing. Ever since then, I've been teaching him new songs."

It was "love at first sight" for the Dublin man and his pet, whose breed is known as a double yellow-headed Amazon.

"He follows me around everywhere when I'm home. Sometimes he impersonates me, although he sounds like he smokes 40 a day when he does!"

Ever loyal to his owner, Escobar reportedly begins to sing as soon as Mr Lawlor pulls up outside the house.

But he didn't always have such an appreciative audience.

"Apparently, he was left back to the pet shop by someone who thought he was too much noise and hassle. His breed can be a bit vicious, but I can't believe anyone not wanting him," he said.

Even Mr Lawlor's neighbours agree with him on this.

"They all love him on the street, the kids are always over to hear him sing," said Mr Lawlor, whose home looks certain to be packed with Escobar fans as well as Republic of Ireland supporters during the Euros.

"I think everyone's agreed the matches will have to be over at my place," he said.

Football may be a hit in the Lawlor household, but Escobar's love for the beautiful game is surpassed only by... Coronation Street.

"He always sings along to the Coronation Street anthem at the end and then he says: 'Time for bed' and starts into his bedtime songs. That's his night-time routine."