By: Tarie Crawford
Frankie and Jackie recovering from their harrowing experience.
My worst nightmare became a reality recently. I was moving my Quaker Frankie from his outdoor cage back inside as I have done many times before. I scooped him up in my hands and got ready to bring him to my chest for safety and he wiggled out… off he went. I watched in horror as he flew around the yard and up into our big tree in our backyard. I ran to my neighbors for help with a ladder and some man power but when we put the ladder up against the tree Frankie got scared and flew off. We tracked him around the neighborhood as it got dark and then realized he was probably hunkered down hiding and would no longer answer our calls. We put his cage outside with food and water hoping he would return there and went to bed with a heavy heart and attempted to sleep.
Early the next morning we were up in our cars driving around trying to hear his calls... nothing. An hour or so later my wife Kathy happened to drive a couple of streets in the opposite direction of where we had seen him the night before and called and listened…bingo... she heard him high up in a tree. Unfortunately, she watched helplessly as a wild bird chase him out of the tree tugging at his tail feathers as Frankie weaved this way and that trying to get away. It was an awful sight.
As she was driving away fearful something awful had happened to him, a bird flew right in front of her windshield up into a tree. It was Frankie. Kathy drove home to get some supplies and we returned to the tree. Eventually we found him hiding high up in the dense leaves tired and stressed. Nothing we did coaxed him from his hiding spot and he proceeded to curl up and sleep.
One of our rescue volunteers/ friends suggested we bring out any other birdie friend he may have to encourage some movement. Kathy retrieved his Moluccan Cockatoo friend Jackie and immediately when we moved her under the tree he started calling to her. Eventually, he flew down a few branches and chirped happily to his best buddy. He was still tentative so I decided to give Jackie a bunch of nuts to see if he would fly down in jealousy (or hunger... at that point it didn’t matter). After a few more branch jumps he finally flew down to my head and I grabbed him with both hands and brought him tightly into my chest. The relief and tears flowed through me as we all celebrated his return.
His first day home he was very anxious and would not sleep in his cage. He wanted to be with me and slept on my shoulder for most of the day. Good thing I work from home so he could take advantage of this rare treat. He would not let me out of his sight and needed lots of love, kisses and snuggles which I happily gave along with some extra treats. He is missing a bunch of tail feathers but appears to be in good health. I have learned a valuable lesson… when moving birds outside always always bring a travel cage in the house to prevent them from escaping. Lesson learn the hard way!