One of our unclipped Cockatiels flew out the door on Saturday March 20, the first day of spring. My Girlfriend and I loaded the mate of the one that flew off into the vet trip cage and started to drive the neighborhood with the cage in back of the truck to sing and hopefully hear a call back from the mate...
It worked great after an hour or so we found her in a huge cottonwood down the street. We sat down under the tree and tried to sweet talk her into climbing/flying down to us. This seemed to just drag out so we called the fire department. A hook and ladder truck came out. A power line was in the way so they started to raise a very large ladder. This big ladder scarred her off into the horizon. The Firemen were so friendly and helpful. They hung around for a half hour in case I found Betty quickly. Which didnít happen unfortunately.
Lucky for us it was still just late morning and a very warm day on the Front Range to the Rockies in Fort Collins, Colorado. We sucked it up and started on our mission to Bring home "Betty" which is a healthy Lutino Cockatiel. She is so beautiful to see her acrobatic ways of such very talented flying. But this was very sad at the same time. We decided to have lunch and take a break. I put the cage in the yard with the mate to keep singing for her sister.
I heard from about a third a mile away or farther a call back again. YAAAAA.
So I again loaded Wilma in the truck again and was off to seek the tree she was in this time. Of course it would turn out to be another huge old cottonwood tree to maybe climb. Yikes but I would do it for her. I love climbing. Well this was going to be the second plan. I decided to just wait for her to climb or fly down to us. I sweet-talked to her and this I could tell got her excited but she was also scared. Finally she climbed down a branch to the end of it and started to swoop down to us sitting on the ground under the tree. When out of nowhere two dogs from the neighboring lot started to bark as soon as they saw the white bird swoop down to us.
She freaked and like a fighter jet attempting to land on a carrier she seemed to take off and turn around for a second attempt at landing on top of the cage. Betty loves the sound of my cell phone ringing in the house. Tip coming here! I had my girlfriend call me while we sat under the huge Cottonwood hoping to coerce Betty down. This cell phone trick worked very well. It helps motivate her down the branch when her sister got tired of calling out.
This was not to prove an easy task at all.
Bringing home from the great outdoors a dearly loved by us, Cockatiel just accidentally freed through an open door with long and full flight feathers. By the way she flew it must have been the best and scariest day of her 5 years of life. I had stopped to talk to many people in the neighborhood. Three of which told a grand story of a beautiful white winged bird flying circles around our neighborhood, about a square mile, all of which we could see from our vantage point at our duplex kind of on a hill with just tree lined fields on 2 sides open to the east and west.
The first lady to see her in her yard promptly being pretty smart about at least wild birds filled her feeders in the yard and was hoping to catch her in a rabbit cage to find the lost owner. HAHA... This was the second place we found her and the second place she got spooked off again from, before we could return our Sweet Betty that loves to cuddle with us and preen her sister home.
By now it was about 2PM and hope was dwindling fast having this happen twice now only to see her fly off. For what it's worth I drove by a garage sale and saw a framed picture of a Swan. I remembered this is a symbol of good luck for Aries in Chinese astrology. I was given the picture. I continued to drive with Wilma in the back of the truck in her vet visit cage. I saw some people working in their yard and stopped to ask if they has seen this beautiful animal and member of our family. I just yelled sort of across the street with my question. I saw the mans eyes light up and go on to tell me of this white winged beauty flying around his property which had an open view to the foothills a mile away. He said she flew over and around twice then seemed to disappear in all the trees along a stretch by the Poudre River at the base of the foothills. This still only a block away from home, one street over but the last western most road along the foothills with what was now a nice but unfortunate view of the sun going down. This sighting account breathed life back into the search. We now had another direction to look for Sweet Betty. I thanked him too and drove away slowly with the flashers on again and definitely no music to hear that longed for call back.
Low and behold I heard her call back again...
I pulled over and turned off the truck. I could see her just about 20 yards from the road in a 30 foot mostly dead and well overgrown with dead limbs Crabapple tree. I fetch the cage from the back of the truck and sat in this field for a bit under the tree sweet talking and praying. It had by now been a good 8 hours of free flight time and just starting to cool off and the sun was going down. I could tell she was tired. I thought this to be maybe our last chance for the day to rescue Sweet Betty. IF this time didn't work out the temperature was dropping and sun going down I was going to be fit to be tied. I was not giving up! I after waiting a while and hoping she would again climb out to the edge of a limb and this time successfully swoop down to the cage. She seemed to size up the 25-30 foot flight down to the cage. I could see she just gave up and climbed up into a very dense center of the tree surrounded by many limbs and we could not even see her nor her us tucked into her hiding place out of complete exhaustion. I thought this was great because she didn't seem to have a clear flight path to escape if she got spooked again. The tree looked as if I would have to break many of the dead branches to climb up to her height in this Crabapple tree. All that had taken place thus far did encourage me very much.
You know what they say, "The Third Time is the Charm".
I reflected on the awesome Fireman showing up to offer help, the many people and stories from the day. I even met one guy who had lost a Gray Cockatiel when he was younger. I met a woman who takes part in the National Audubon Society Bird Count in the area every year. She shared of a white Cockatiel seen one year in their annual count along the Platt River.
I was feeling the chill of the evening on the first day of springtime in the Rockies settling in. I decided to toss the towel I had over my shoulder and make my way as quite as possible up the tree. I succeeded and reached her with out scarring her with the snaps of the few small branches breaking. I think we were also lucky because she flew so hard for so long tiring her greatly. She finally jumped on my finger and I slowly cupped her wings down with my other hand and pulled the towel off my shoulder and wrapped her in it then tucked it under my shirt and started to look for a way down the tree to return home to the sweetheart of my life. My girlfriend Brittany gave me strength, encouragement, support, understanding, a hot lunch and plenty of love during this rough day for us all.
Thank Everyone and Thank God!
I hope our experience will give you hope or just a good feeling that good things can happen when you don't give up on your lost pet.
By the way this same day we made huge ground in gaining the trust of our newly adopted 22 year old Double Yellow Headed Amazon and he actually finally let us pick him up and he will now sit on our arms and so we can give him treats to assure him he is now in what we call the second best thing to birdie heaven.
This escape happened because I was taking the tray from under the cage outside to shake off. Next time the doors stay locked when we clean the cages on Sunday morning.