Chapito, my cockatiel, my little miracle bird
by Chris Haydel
(New Orleans, Louisiana USA)
On 1-20-12(last Friday)late in the afternoon in New Orleans near Lake Ponchartrain my baby was on my shoulder as I went outside to feed my adopted kitty, Bibbens, and, yes, she flew off my shoulder. I felt the push off of my shoulder and imediately knew our nightmare had begun. I watched her fly high into the air in total disbelief. I yelled her name as she flew in ever increasing larger cicles and she gained altitude and the wind pushed her toward the lake.
After screaming at someone to close my front door so the cat wouldn't get into my home and eat the other two birds, I ran to my garage and pressed the combination to open the garage door, at which time I lost sight of her rising -higher and higher in the sky. I ripped my bike out of the garage and began my search in a 5 square block area. One side of my area had a thick patch of oak trees, one side had a large blvd with a wide open space in between. I was on my bike in an undershirt, short pants, belt unbuckled and black dress shoes and no socks. I was a sight to behold screaming out her name.
I remember thinking at some time that her stamina surprised me as I saw her fly high into the sky as the wind carried her closer to the lake. I biked up and down the streets as darkness encroached upon my search with my wondering what to do next, as I emotionally kicked myself for being so stupid.
As it began to get dark, I began biking home, I was close to my house, about a block away when my calling to her got results. I HEARD HER!, her whistle was music to my ears. I moved in the direction of her whistle and found that I had to climb over a 6' fence, thinking that she was on the ground in a double backyard (2 houses). After nearly spearing my side on top of the fence, I managed to leap down, gain my balance and call her name again. I did not see her, but heard her. Finally looking up, I saw her on the gutter of a very tall 2 story house. (The rooms in this house had to have 10 foot ceilings.) She was up there and would not come down so I laid down as I do when I am playing with her and called her name. (Now picture this: I am in a strangers backyard in an undershirt and shorts, my belt is not buckled and I have dress shoes on with no socks.)
What responds to my call, not Chapito, but a medium sized dog. So I get up and foolishly try to catch the dog. He runs from me and continues barking. I run to the back doors and windows and no one answers my knocks, "Is anyone home?" There's a back door, it opens but I can't get the dog to go inside a storage type room. FINALLY, what seemed like a hour and a minor miracle, a young man showed up at the corner of the house. I, somewhat, emotionally and strongly requested that he remove his dog from his backyard so that I could catch my bird. He did. I layed backdown again and called to my baby. She would not come down, but then, as though it were a miracle just for me, I saw a spiral staircase going up to a second floor exit door. (Why hadn't I seen that earlier, it could have saved me much stress. Maybe so, maybe not.) I flew up the staircase and found myself much closer to Chapito. I called her name. She walked closer to me moving on the gutter, but still if would have been impossible for me to climb onto the roof. AND THEN, SHE FLEW TO THE STAIRCASE RAILING. I EVER SO "CALMLY" PUT BOTH HAND AROUND HER AND ABOUT KISSED HER TO DEATH. She was totally relaxed in my hands.
I found the gate which wasn't very far from where I had climbed the fence, I managed to get on my bike with 1.5 hands, and as I biked away the young man on his second story balcony asked if I had caught my bird. I said, "YES!" He responded with, "COOL." I managed to bike down the street and across a grassy lot and home again. I climbed up my one flight of stairs, walked into the kitchen and looked out the window and it was dark.
The timing with everything, and everyone and my #1, favorite birdy of the month was nothing short of a miracle.
Yes, I cut her flight feathers. They had been cut over a year ago. She was so beautiful manuvering in the air around my house. She is such a caring bird for the cockatoo and green check conure that I did not want to cut her flight feathers again, that is, until now since I was lucky enough to be given another chance.
(I will upload a px later.)