US coastguards had to use a helicopter to rescue a man who climbed a 60ft pine tree to retrieve his pet parrot.

William Hart, 35, from Montgomery County, near Houston, Texas, followed his £1 000 white cockatoo Geronimo after it escaped its cage.

After he got stuck, about 30 Sheriff’s deputies and firefighters converged on the tree but the ground was too wet to get a ladder near the tree.

Houston Police Department’s water rescue team then tried to reach Mr Hart with a rope, but it was not long enough.

As daylight began to fade, the decision was made to call in the coastguard from Galveston, reports the Houston Chronicle.

Before the helicopter finally retrieved him, Mr Hart could be seen standing on a branch holding the bird under his shirt and smoking a cigarette.

“In my 18 years as a firefighter, I’ve never seen anything like this,” Porter Fire Chief Jody Binnion said.

Apart from a few scratches and a bite on his finger where the frightened bird nipped him, Mr Hart was unscathed and relieved to be back on solid ground.

Cradling the shaking bird in his arms, he said he was surprised by all the fuss, but had no regrets: “He’s my baby. I’d do it again.”

His 14-year-old daughter had forgotten to put the latch back on Geronimo’s cage after feeding him and the bird had flown out the bedroom window