Friendly parrot may be banned outdoors after ruffling the council’s feathers

Brendan Rees

VB, a chatty rainbow lorikeet, loves to greet his West Melbourne neighbours from his cage, and has done so for the past five years.

The loveable parrot’s home is at Phoenix Window Cleaning Services on Stanley St, but his carer Mick Douglas, who also works at the business, likes to roll his cage to the side of the footpath every day for locals to enjoy.

But his good nature has not won over the City of Melbourne, which Mr Douglas labelled as the “fun police” after telling VB’s owners to put his cage indoors because it was deemed a “hazard” on the footpath. 

According to the council, a permit is required for “items placed in a public place” under the Activities of Local Law 2019.

“Permits are required to ensure safe access for all. They are also important for businesses given the public liability risk of placing items in a public place, should an incident occur,” a council statement said.

Mr Douglas said he couldn’t believe the council was “having a go at a bird” with their request being a “little over the top”.


“The locals like him, they come past saying hello to him because he says, ‘how are ya?’” Mr Douglas said, adding VB was “not hurting anyone” and “he’s out of people’s road” and would continue to have him outside.


“I know they’re doing their job, but I think they’re going overboard.”

Mr Douglas said VB always had access to food and water, and that his cage was locked at all times and its wheels secured with bollards. There is also a sign displayed on the cage saying, “Please stop to say: ‘How are ya’ but please be careful of cars in the driveway”.

“I feed him every day, and I even come in on Sundays and let him out,” he said, adding “if it gets too windy, we put him inside anyway.”

Mr Douglas said that when he spoke to council staff, “three of them” had “come down making a big scene out of it”.

He was further disappointed because he had also created a little community garden outside the business premises and regularly weeded the surrounding area.

“We try to respect the place, and they just seem to be out to get us in general.”

Mr Douglas also pointed to a neglected garden in the median strip of Stanley St, which had not been maintained in years, but couldn’t understand why the council was not addressing this but had instead “gone mad picking on a bird”.

North West City News was also made aware of potential hazards in the street including an uneven section of footpath near where VB’s cage is set up, as well as an exposed gas meter box with a broken door at a nearby building, which had a broken door – which Mr Douglas believed were more problematic than a bird cage, which still allowed plenty of room for people to walk by.

Caption: VB, the rainbow lorikeet, in his cage in West Melbourne.

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