Pet Profiles: Myles Bratter and Rainbow
Meet the Dover biker and his macaw
photo by rachel l. bratter
Sixty miles per hour. 70. It’s August 8, 2016, at the Sturgis Dragway in South Dakota. Rainbow the macaw hangs onto Myles Bratter’s shoulder, untethered, a blur of blazing red feathers above the nitrous-powered Ninja motorcycle. When the back wheel catches, sending Bratter skidding across the pavement and Rainbow soaring to safety (as she is trained to do), they’re doing almost 80 — a new world record. Bratter awakens to the words, “That bird’s not getting in my ambulance.” Despite his bloodied face, road burns and broken bones, Bratter says, “Then I’m not either.”
When Rainbow hatched on August 14, 1995, Bratter was the first thing she saw. “It was meant to be,” he says. Bratter has been a bird man since his cockatoo-and-balloon magic act in the ’70s. Though some thought his bird-on-a-bike dream impossible, he and Rainbow learned to ride through early bonding, trust and lots of love. Yes, Bratter eventually got into that ambulance (he’s now doing fine), but only after he knew Rainbow was safe.
At her first Laconia Motorcycle Week, Rainbow got startled into a tree. Bratter waited, stomach knotted, for hours. Rainbow finally flew, dropping into a nearby swamp. Bratter jumped on his bike, ignoring blue lights behind him. He slogged into the swamp on foot. The cop shouted, “Stop!” “I gotta get my bird!” Bratter yelled. “I was 50-something, overweight, I’m running through the swamp. This young cop is chasing me. He tackles me. ‘Did you steal that motorcycle?’” Then Rainbow let out an ear-splitting macaw scream. The cop froze. “I said, ‘That’s her! See her little red head sticking out?’ We had a good laugh about it afterward.”
Bratter and Rainbow make guest appearances at bike rallies, weddings and children’s parties; all photo-op donations go to charities such as the Veteran Resort Chapel’s Tiny Homes for American Heroes. Bratter lights up when he describes bringing a new oxygen system to a veteran in need. Rainbow lights up when Bratter talks to her.