Britain’s got talons: Mikey the Macaw set for stardom

A starry-eyed parrot and his Wimbledon owners have become international YouTube sensations.

Freelance booking agents, Nimall Fernando, 29, and Claire Atallah, 28, both of Haydons Road, adopted two year-old Mikey last year from an elderly man who could no longer care for him.

They started writing songs about him and now Mikey’s videos receive thousands of views, while his songs are produced by Matt Hyde, who has worked with famous rock bands Slipknot and Ash. 

“He had him in this tiny little cage in a dark lounge,” Nimall said.

“We were like: ‘this guy can’t look after him, let’s just save this bird.’”

The couple agreed to take Mikey in, and built him a large aviary in their spare room.

The channel began when Nimall posted a David Attenborough-style YouTube mockumentary of Mikey to send to his grandparents.

He said: “It had 20 views for a good few months and then one day it literally just took off and I just saw it doing a couple thousand views a day.”

He added: “When I had about 70,000 I was like: Jesus, people actually love watching Mikey!”

The video, entitled ‘Mikey the Macaw (our first month)’, now has over 300,000 views, and Nimall and Claire then decided to start writing songs about Mikey and to shoot accompanying music videos.

“I used to be a musician which took me all over the world, I used to play in bands. Now I just write songs about the bird.” continued Nimall, who was formerly in alt-rock band Rival State.

Nimall’s first music video was ‘Mornings with Mikey’, a song about Claire and Nimall’s morning routine with the pet macaw.

Nimall writes the music, while Claire does the harmonies and the songs are then mixed by Matt, who Nimall knows from his time in Rival State. 

He said: “When he heard what I was doing, he was like: ‘you’re actually just recording these incredible songs and filming your bird!’ he said he would cut us a sweet deal!”


Despite international stardom, Mikey’s talons are firmly on the ground, or at least, on Nimall’s shoulder.

When he is not featuring in Nimall’s videos Mikey enjoys watching his favourite film Rio, visiting, Wimbledon watering-hole, The Garden Shed and enjoying Wimbledon park.

Karl Tisch, 36, owner of the The Garden Shed Pub on Haydons Road, said: “I’ve seen him in here a couple of times.

“It catches your attention, you don’t often see birds of paradise cruising round the pubs of South-West London.”

Karl continued: “Unfortunately he’s one of those punters that sits there on a glass of water, it’s not good for the pub trade.”

The trio are currently working on a Christmas song, and hope to continue producing videos featuring Mikey.

Nimall said: “It’s so cool to just put stuff up online and know that so many people around the world are smiling.”

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