I shared this story with: The Birds That Own Me
I'm hoping to make this into a children's book one day, if time allows...
Q: What is your scariest bird-related story? A: It would have to be the time Mikey flew out into the night, and how much of a miracle it was that I got him back.
I was overloading myself with rescue stuff and I really wanted time with Mikey, so I brought him with me to pick up some kittens for NPLB around late at night. This family wasn’t taken very good care of them, so it was decided to take them back. I brought them to Tamarac, FL from Boca to turn them over to the boss.
While doing the exchange, Mikey got spooked and flew into the night. He WAS clipped, but not enough; some of the feathers had grown back. It was dark, he made no noise. We did eventually find him in a tree down the street, so we got a pool net and tried to catch him… NOPE, that's when he really took off, high into the sky. I couldn’t even see the direction he flew in… I was devastated. It was my fault. It was my screw up that lead my buddy to fly away. I was a total wreck.
We headed back into the area the next morning at the buttcrack of dawn. My dad came along with me, as well as Elly the dusky conure and Mikey's friend. We were hoping she'd call out to him and get a response. I walked around the entire block with her. Some people were walking together, and I asked if they had seen a blue-headed green bird, they said no. I said to myself, “Well, maybe he wants to be free.” Right as I got back to the car, I heard something. I ran down the street with Elly in a portable cage, and I heard his call. He was in the opposite direction of the path he took off in. I heard a squawk and an "Oh, shut up!"
I flipped out. He was through this dude’s yard, fence, on the golf course, in a palm tree. I didn’t mean to trespass, but I needed my bird. He was high up, I couldn’t climb to reach him. My dad went to get a ladder from the NPLB boss’ mom’s house.
Turns out, the neighbor of the guy who I trespassed on, knew the boss’ mom, so he let my Dad come through his yard with the ladder without issue. Right when we got it to the tree, little Mikey freaked out and took off…AGAIN. Off across the golf course was a huge forest patch, and I thought I saw him go in there. I tried to look for him, but the little ass didn’t make a sound.
Again, I said to myself “Maybe he really wants to be free.”
The kind neighbor-friend said that he was off that day and wouldn’t mind if Elly stayed with him up in his tiki hut to try to keep Mikey in the area. So I left and came back with Mikey’s cage and toys and food to hopefully entice him over.
At one point in this adventure, I crossed a log that was over a ditch/gully full of tall grass and spiders. I slipped and fell on my butt. I was climbing trees, calling to Mikey. The golf staff asking what I was doing. I begged them not to kick me out, I was just trying to get Mikey back. I think they understood.
I went back and forth a few times and before I knew it, it was sundown. I was crying, I was going to have to make posters and hope for the best, and what if Mikey just flew off again? I prayed with all my heart to God, reflecting on something similar I prayed about in the past as a child, “Remember when you helped me find that Guinea Pig when I was little. I said if you did that, I’d love you forever, can you do that for me one more time? Please?”
So my last trip that day, sun setting, I was going to pick up Elly for the night. On the way over, I noticed that it looked like it rained in the area, it hadn't rained in forever! Now the skies decided to open up?
Someone on FB said “they can’t fly if they’re wet.” Not only was Mikey drenched, but he was offended by it. Once he heard me call to Elly, he started screaming for me a-ways away. He was far down, left of where I thought he first flew. I took Elly over and climbed that damn tree like a monkey, loosing my sandals in the process (I bet they're still there). I wiggled the branch he was on which caused him to flutter right next to Elly. I hurried down to go get him, slipped and fell onto my back in a pile of leaves. It got me to the ground faster than climbing. I scooped his stupid butt up and ran like I won the olympics! Frickin’ bird! I love him so much. I was soooooooo grateful.
I promised the vets who gave him to me that I’d have him for his entire life, and despite THAT whole ordeal, I still aim to keep that promise.
If they're wet, sorta injured, clipped, birds can still manage to fly and shouldn't be under-estimated. Be extra cautious and borderline paranoid with your birds. Also, when you bring a bird into your home, it's for life, come hell or high water.