July 22 SearchDay Party

Posted by Raz on Jul 23rd, 2014
Jul 23

My birthday celebration this year had an unusual theme: Search Party! It was partly to keep my spirits up, and partly to recheck the home territory around NE Mission Bay and do another public info push with the regular walkers, joggers, and pet people. I had a table set up on the walking/biking path with the big poster and flyer on display, and stacks of cards and flyers for people to take. I think I’ll do that regularly now, there and at other locations I want to spread the word. Walkers do stop and check it out.

Thanks to all who attended and walked, looked, listened, passed out cards, talked to people, manned the Birthday Cheer table, and kept my day from being a downer. Special thanks to the winning calling team, Princess Jardine and Uh-Oh Lilac Crowned Amazon, and all the other psittacine attendees for making sure Carly would know there was a party going on!

Piper did lots and lots of flying, foraging, whistling and war-whooping, demonstrating who and what we’re looking and listening for. I think he had a great time. He’s in excellent spirits today.

No sightings from the event, but we got more people on the case including 2 new “expert spotters” in high priority areas: parrot people who live on Cowley Way and PB Crown Point neighborhood. Talking to people personally is really important and effective. I truly appreciate the help. I think I’ve talked to more strangers in the last 4 weeks than in the last several years, and it was a nice birthday present to hand off those duties for a day!

Special thanks also to Adrienne Mock for coming up with the idea. And then remotivating me on my blue, blue Monday when I was about to back out. Much appreciated. If anyone took pictures please share on my new Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/FINDCLU

I’d also like to point out new blog pages which can be found under the About Us page. In response to questions from forums and new readers who have learned about Carly recently, there is now

– Carly Lu and Freeflight FAQ
– Carly Lu Missing: INFO

(To be added soon, “Why I Freefly”.)

Thanks again to all my amazing friends — old and new! It’s been a stressful and exhausting time but a tremendous amount of good has come into my life over these weeks too.

WANTED: Cereal Killer!

Posted by Raz on Jul 19th, 2014
Jul 19

Considered BEAKED AND DANGEROUS. Do not approach. Poses a MAJOR FLIGHT RISK.
Contact authorities immediately if seen.


Suspect has been seen frequenting shady establishments in the following areas:

Crime Scene Photos

REWARD offered for information leading to the apprehension of this individual.

Crown Point outpost: Covered by 2 Specialists

Posted by Raz on Jul 18th, 2014
Jul 18

Three good sightings in past week, all in Pacific Beach on the northwest side of the bay and near the ocean.

Saturday was the call about a grey parrot, red tail, calling, flying over residential area (Diamond & Evert, first star above Garnet Blvd on the map.) Sunday, same person, same place, Grey flyinv over around 1pm, being harassed by crows. Me, same deal, driving, traffic.

But I spent the day until sunset walking, listening and engaging in egregious signage. Realized after jogging over to the lifeguard station where she’d previously been sighted (little less than a mile away, as the human runs) that not only did I leave home with no water, but also no wallet. That was a warm and thirsty search circuit. Stopped in at Trader Joe’s finally and begged a bottle of water. Thanks Joe!

And thanks also to Sarah Fields for the short notice delivery of more relief supplies, fronting me for dinner, and bringing/posting more signs.

It was a long and fruitless day. (Start to a novel?) It was sinking in how big the area is, how many houses and trees, and how unlikely to happen upon a 10 inch bird tucked away in a tree most if the time, or occasionally flying over a slightly wider field of vision, or sometimes calling but with limited range due to busy streets dissecting the area. Monday was a real slump day.

Wednesday was the other call from PB, with duplicate sighting of the one on Sunday, then again in tall trees in the Crown Point area (lower gold star on map). That’s where I set up my Crown Point Coffee outpost.

And as I manned my station after biking around, look what showed up!


I almost fell off my chair when I saw a woman with a grey in her hand. Meet Katie and May Grey (wonderful San Diego name). They may not be real. Seriously, a wildlife biologist who goes around watching birds with binocs for a living, who owns a grey parrot, and lives right in the middle of the current hard-to-access search area? But it gets weirder. Katie got May from the wonderful breeder and trainer Wendy Craig, one of my flying buddies, who lives in Texas. She is Piper’s original human mom. And… May and Piper are brother and sister, both offspring of Manley and Jessop, 4 years apart.

May now has the Crown Point lookout covered.

May at the Bay

Picking up business cards today with Carly photo and info, to put on doors in neighborhoods with repeat or current sightings. I have to get calls quickly, which means I need lots of eyes who have her picture handy and my phone number at their fingertips.


Leftmost star is the lifeguard tower where she was seen well, once. Topmost star is the location of a home that puts food out for wild parrots. After walking around for a couple hours on Sunday someone pointed it out to me. In typical weird randomness, it’s the house I had parked my car in front when I arrived. They’re on watch now too.

Theoretical Parrot Dynamics 1

Posted by Raz on Jul 16th, 2014
Jul 16

1a. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle of Parrots

At any given moment, you can only determine one of the two pieces of information that will allow you to predict their next location.

1b. The Fractal Theory of Parrots

Each new detail learned about a parrots location reveals an infinite number of details you still need to know.

Wednesday outpost: Crown Point

Posted by Raz on Jul 16th, 2014
Jul 16

Another sighting today after 2 days of nothing and a very very low Monday. There was a promising sighting in Pacific Beach Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, a few blocks from the beach north of the lifeguard tower. I had no signs in the area but the woman remembered seeing us on teevee and called right away. Good description of both visual and sound, even though in flight. But I put in a long 6 hour search until dark, and nothing. No calls Monday or Tuesday. Kind of hit rock bottom Monday. Sunday’s sighting was in a slightly new area with so many residences and so many trees. It was a daunting area to cover and target my remaining flyers. And it came in the middle of my proclaimed Day of Rest, just as the WC final went into extra time..,

Pubbus interruptus

Pubbus interruptus

Today’s call came because she saw one of those flyers yesterday that I put up Sunday.

It was also pretty quick, from the Crown Point neighborhood of MissionBay. Plus she also had a sighting confirming the other one Sunday. Almost exactly the same spot and time.

The woman today is a parrot owner, as was the previous one, as was the one before that, as well as the one who called in the very first good sighting. Good thing we’re out there!

Anybody needs me, this is my office for today. My neighbor, Saint Sylvia, just delivered my laptop and stack of “Find Carly” cards I printed last night (and of course left at home when I rushed out!) Plus, shaved ice! Tried to get some on my jog down PB Sunday and discovered I had no wallet, no water. A mile or two from my car. (Yes Sarah Fields, I don’t have to go begging at Trader Joe’s today. Thanks for bringing emergency relief supplies Sunday :-)

This is the kind of place I normally take Carly to get her “people fix” — so she doesn’t obsess over socializing when we go flying. Now what — Amazon hangouts? See you at the Carrotwood Cafe. Saturday night at the Beach Shower Bar & Grill.

Going to try to intersperse some biking and posting with working here today. It takes so long to drive into PB from anywhere I feel like I should just camp out. Wonder if Campland has vacancies.

Not Your Ordinary Breakfast

Posted by Raz on Jul 11th, 2014
Jul 11

Friday AM update: Yesterday’s walking, talking and posting mileage nets a useful lead.

No reports yesterday, but I covered & posted Campland well (near golf course). Lots of trees, campers, and dauntingly huge. Targeted groups with nice outdoor set ups for eating & lounging. Little market posted signs, “rangers” are on watch, kids on bikes looking. Plus they serve ice cream, cocktails, and have Polynesian dance shows on Sat eves. This is not your ordinary campground. Perhaps perfect for Not Your Ordinary Bird.

Locations in Campland easily eliminated.


Checked & posted Tecolote Canyon Nature Ctr at other end of my area. A persistent tip of hearing Carly at night from houses nearby, but I can’t verify so far. Near other early possible sightings. There’s trees, water in a creek, golf course, trails. Hit business district on the way home, eating places, coffee shops, local hydroponic pot growing store, fire station. And from the last flyer posted…

A call this morning at 5:45 from woman who catches 6 am bus and has seen a Grey, and companion, fly across toward the bay in early morning, and back from bay heading inland in late afternoon before sunset. Multiple days, including last night. She used to have a grey and described differences from wild amazons without being prompted. Shr heard it calling in the air, which is typical of her first flights of the day.

So this is potentially a very good lead on her roosting habit right now. I did that neighborhood and the bay rounds 6-8:30 this morning, and posted more signs. I saw 2 birds crossing into bay area around 7:00, with diff flight than amazons, one doing funky jukey dives over the water (also typical of her first flights each day) but couldn’t see where they stopped. If they kept going in straight path they’d end up around DeAnza trailer park or Campland.

Which is why I’m now having breakfast here.

Gotta go do some paying work now.

One on One with Piper Poo

Posted by Raz on Jul 10th, 2014
Jul 10

Thursday AM update. No new reports yesterday. I took Piper flying at the bay for a couple hours, to get him some much needed exercise and see if Carly might join him if she was nearby. He got in some nice long flies, played in the trees & enjoyed the sunshine. Then flew home. We hung out in the garden until sunset while I watered and pruned. He’s been extremely alert to the wild parrot sounds and any kind of whistling he hears. Freezes in his tracks and listens.

I did get 3 or 4 calls while he was flying yesterday. A test of the emergency alert system — it works!

It’s been sad to see him react to his only bird flock-mate and pal being missing. I can really see how much behavior is related to “the flock” (me and Carly) being present and OK. My dear neighbor Sylvia whistles with him when he’s on the patio and I’m away, which I’m sure makes him feel a bit more connected (or at least entertained!)

There was a short spell of disinterest in food and extreme quiet, but aside from that the biggest difference I’ve noticed is in general activity level. He’s typically always on the go, playing with toys, getting into anything and everything, and it appears very independent. But it’s independent within the context of a group or pair. I keep thinking about how parrots in wild flocks are active and noisy when everything is OK, and still and quiet when there’s danger. Noisy = all clear, quiet = caution. It must feel really strange to not have the usual “all clear” activity around him. I’m doing a lot more talking when I’m home, and making contact calls of some sort when I’m not in direct sight.

But it’s also been interesting to get to know him better as a “solo” bird. He’s always been one of a pair before, and they interact quite a lot. Though Carly would probably consider “interact” a bit of a euphemism sometimes; he’s fond of pinning her foot to the perch with his so he can “interact” and play when she isn’t interested. It’s kind of a cross between childhood friends and an old married couple. And he’s been trying to mate with her since he was barely 2 years old. He’s 6 now, and has made little progress in figuring out the correct mechanics of parrot yada yada. They sleep on separate perches in different parts of the room, sometimes even separate rooms. When people ask if they are mates, I usually describe it as “they have sex but don’t sleep together.”

Now I’m seeing him as I knew Carly before he arrived. She was 4 years old and he came at 4 months — hand delivered by “mom” Wendy Craig (http://www.wendysparrots.com) on a visit to fly the beach with Samantha, her Red-fronted Macaw. So I never had the intense one-on-one with Piper that I did with Carly — from our first, unexpected THIS IS *MY* BIRD encounter when she was a baby at the store, all through a long mutual training journey.

An odd time. I don’t know what I’ll find when I catch up with her. Who is this other bird? Wild? Former pet? Will she be willing to leave? Will he — or she — be willing to come with us? (I’ve seen some extremely strong same-sex bonding in parrots too.) What if there’s an owner who can be found? Separate them? Play dates? Will she be able to fly outside any more (unlikely if there’s a mate somewhere in the area). Will she be miserable left behind when Piper is out flying (most certainly yes, unless she has another buddy at home.) I’m quite prepared for her to not even come to me.

Or is this just a friendship of convenience? We don’t know for sure if there has been a single companion or two. Two good sightings — one over several days — had a Grey companion. Recent ones have seen a green (wild Amazon?) companion, including the close-up & reliable observation at PB lifeguard tower. The grey parrot missing before her was found dead about a week after Carly went missing. Was she hanging with him, and now with someone else? (Would certainly fit the “Carly the Tart” we all know. )

Lots of questions. One evening at sunset, July 3, I was so dead tired from searching I was almost hoping she wouldn’t appear then. I just didn’t have the energy to deal with an “other bird” situation.

So, um, thank you Carly for giving me time to think? I’m good now — we can deal with this. Pop on down here!

Beach Bum

Posted by Raz on Jul 8th, 2014
Jul 8

The latest reported sighting is from Zack in Pacific Beach, who saw Carly sitting on top of the shower area at the beach in PB, next to the lifeguard tower, on July 5, with a green parrot. He gave a thorough description, was up close, noticed it was out of place and wondered who it belonged to. I didn’t have posters in that area. Two days later he saw one I put at In-n-Out Burger a mile or two away.

This is the exact location of the last sighting. I don’t see anything here.


So, posting in Pacific Beach between Mission Bay Golf Course (#4 on map) and the ocean is underway. I notified the lifeguards, and spoke to bars/cafes along the boardwalk. Kurt’s Mobile Pet Detectives told me of a place with very low color copy prices; they are made and we’ll start posting this evening. Join us for one helluva good time. Bring flyers and tape and you’ll be entered into the Grand Prize Raffle! (Prize: African Grey Parrot, Female, 9 years old, likes beaches.)

Flyers (2 to a page) can be downloaded www.tinyurl.com/FINDCLU.

Here are the sightings so far that have had good detail, were over multiple days, or made sense in terms of timing. Lots of calls that were vague, just sound, or totally out of the area (>40 miles). Many checked out just in case. Numbers refer to map below.

  1. June 29-July2, 3-5 pm First report of sighting. In tall eucalyptus trees, and along street where wild amazons were feeding on carrotwood trees. Seen in eucs, flying between trees (6/29-7/1), and in a woody thicket (7/2) along the road only feet away. In trees seen by 2 people over several days, one has owned an amazon. In trees there were 2 greys. One described as “fluffy”. (She was referring to belly feathers.)
  2. July 1 Report of 2 “non-green” parrots not like usual flocks flying overhead to the west, toward bay.
  3. June 26-July 1, early morning Seen multiple mornings over the week from by park service guy, 6-9 AM, near visitor center; on first day with another parrot. 7/4 two possible sightings: 7:30 pm flying out of tall eucalyptus 1000 ft to south of visitor center, heading north; confirmed red tail. 7:50 pm perched in eucalyptus tree beside visitor center. (Amazons seen eating and roosting in this tree 7/7.)
  4. July 1, 11am (same day as #2) Seen in trees along narrow road between golf course and bay by a couple on bikes. One on each side of the road, “kind of chatting back and forth”. Saw whole body on one, definitely a grey. Other head only, not as certain.
  5. July 5, 3pm. Clearly seen sitting on top of shower building by lifeguard tower at Pacific Beach, end of Grand Ave. There was a green parrot also.


Search stats:

Best tips coming from information seen on posters (3), News/TV reports (3), talking to someone in person (3), vets/pet stores (0), Nextdoor.com (0).

Most search & post help coming from: Facebook friends & strangers (too many to count!), Nextdoor.com (several).

Most unreliable tips: “heard a different kind of bird” (without sighting also)

Samaritan to Jerk ratio: LOTS:2

Ace Ventura, Poop Detective

Posted by Raz on Jul 4th, 2014
Jul 4

Lots of ground covered today, stakeouts at all the spotting locations, but no Carly. I did find out she’s been seen by the park service guys most days this week very early in the morning, near the visitor center, right where our flying spot is. One time there were two of them. The man I spoke to tried to get her to come down to him once but she would have none of it. I’m wondering if she’s in full nesting mode with the Mystery Grey.

Great, my daughter has eloped…

At sunset instead of walking/biking I just stayed at the visitor center and quietly searched up in all the big trees, checked underneath for parrot poop or feathers. Nothing. But it was all recently mowed and groomed prior to the holiday too.

So I’m going on the assumption tomorrow that she is roosting nearby, not up by the Amazon trees where she’s only been seen in the afternoon. I’ll do a crack-of-dawn stakeout at the visitor center, then check out the place where she was spotted around 10-11 am, and a set of big oak trees near that that I know she likes. (I’ve been there many times this week, but never very early.)

The bay will become a noisy swarm of people well before noon, so there won’t be a lot of time to hear anything. If she’s roosting there with another Grey, I’m wondering how s/he will take the pandemonium and fireworks. Carly’s been to such things before and for her the more the merrier, and fireworks are no big deal. But I can imagine an escaped bird used to indoors being pretty alarmed by it all. I’ll be checking in and out over there throughout the day.

4th of July Mission Bay Stakeout Extravaganza

4th of July Mission Bay Stakeout Extravaganza

Thank you to April Adcock of PEAC for walking one big leg of the evening route and handing out flyers at Campland. And to Bev Moody for a watchful stakeout at the shopping center trees while I was at the bay, Melissa for surveying a big swath of neighborhood between spotting sites, Mr. ‘That Bike’ for taking part of the bay route while I stayed in place. And my precious neighbor Sylvia for walking the Amazon trail putting up flyers and listening for Carly, whose voice she knows well, feeding me, watering my garden, making posters, and making sure I don’t forget every single thing when I leave the house.

And thanks to everyone who’s been trying to find any little way to help or keep my spirits up. It’s been overwhelming and has most definitely kept me from curling up in a ball.

2 birds in the bush: worth 1 in the hand?

Posted by Raz on Jul 3rd, 2014
Jul 3

If a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, then the reverse is true, right? Well it looks like we may have two in the bush. And for tonight anyway, that’s close enough to one in the hand to give me a good night’s sleep. I haven’t caught up with them yet, but got 3 good leads.

Text mssg around 1pm from a woman who’d seen the very last poster I put up last night, as well as a story 7 news ran this morning. She’s seen 2 greys in the eucalyptus trees between the building where she lives and the laundromat where she works (looks right out into the area). It’s about a mile up the hill from the bay and my house, behind a supermarket. I saw some amazons roost there last night. She used to have an amazon, so she can distinguish parrot features. She described one as being “fluffy” LOL — and described Carly’s tummy feathers. They were there late afternoon for about 3 days — but not today… Ch 8 news came and interviewed while I was searching there. That’s where all the Carrotwood trees are. Amazons go crazy over them. And below the tree where 2 greys were hanging out: purple parrot poop. Wondered if I should take it in to the crime lab for DNA, but remembered I don’t have a crime lab.

So this could explain food and water.

Better than mom's cooking

Better than mom’s cooking


While I was staking it out around 6:30-7, right after the News 8 story aired, a man called reporting two parrots he saw fly over his house due west of the supermarket, heading toward the bay, two days ago. Wasn’t sure about the red tail, but said they were definitely parrots, and definitely not green, and the right size. Again, two.

As we were talking another call came in. Couple were going along the north edge of the bay late this morning (Weds) and saw TWO greys, in separate trees, chatting and foraging.

All these are in a straight line about a 1.5 miles long, just grazing the very northern edge of where I’ve searched. I ran down and checked out the bay spot but didn’t see or hear anything.

Kurt brought his Pet Detective Task Force to aid with the evening search again and they were critical in solving the need for a body in two places at once.


So I feel pretty confident now that Carly has not been abducted, and is doing just fine, thank you very much. It will be interesting to see who her companion is. Oddly, the woman with the other missing Grey, from 2 weeks ago, did not return my call asking for more info on hers in case my search turns up anything. And their ad is no longer on CL.

Piper is still unusually quiet, physically and vocally, but doesn’t seem lethargic; just subdued. Like he doesn’t have anyone to play with (or torment). Sitting on my head right now.

  • The NBC/7 web article about Carly from last night was shared on Facebook 932 times. People were recognizing me on the street. And NBC’s morning news video brought in the best tip of the week!
  • CBS News8 did a good piece on their evening show that brought in the other 2 good tips of the day.



I’m anticipating a lot of back and forth tomorrow, and unfortunately there’s a huge hill in one direction so it’s tough biking. Hopefully we’ll discover who this mystery companion is, and if Carly has eloped or is just chillin’ with a girlfriend at the beach.

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