One of the hardest days ever in the Carly saga.
A Grey was found this morning in a backyard, just over the hill from many of the previous Carly sightings. She cautiously let a woman give her a cracker. Eventually her husband is able to pick her up and take her inside. They Google, find my FB page, and call me and SoCal Parrots. I drive over, talking myself down the whole time. I checked Craigslist for new lost ads — nothing — but it’s probably not her. The bird had no band. But I’ve been wondering if this long period of no sightings is because someone has stolen her. Perhaps they removed the band. I wonder if the husband has the reddish hair that Carly finds so irresistible in a man. That would be freaky.
A few days ago I actually prayed to St Francis of Assissi. I’m an atheist, but apparently still in the bargaining stage of loss. I’ve always loved St Francis though. I would freakin convert if it worked. (I can’t imagine suddenly feeling I know there’s a god, but faith is supposed to mean going with it even without proof right? So I’d just accept it on faith. Deal? Deal.) It was one of my weekly “release the pain” moments, and I pleaded that if someone had her she’d escape.
The husband answers the door. He has sandy reddish hair. (Freaky.) The bird is in their big dog crate. If it isn’t Carly it could be her twin, in looks and manner. Super calm, like Carly always is, not like a bird who’s lost, disoriented or afraid. Full wings, not a grown out clip. Same size and head shape.
She doesn’t want to be picked up, gives a soft growl, and doesn’t show signs of recognizing me. Is this how a bird who’s been feral for 9 months would behave? I give her an almond, which she eats left-handed. Check. Carly & Piper’s most exciting treats are “packages” — a few treats wrapped up in paper in a small bag that they get to tear apart. I make one out of a cookie wrapper and ask “do you want a package?” She lets me pick her up right away.
The only way I can be sure it’s her or not is to have a vet check for a microchip — unlike most parrots Carly has one. I stop at Rose Canyon Vet because it’s on the way home. To my surprise everyone there already knows about me and Carly.
They scan for a chip in the spot I tell them Carly’s is located and a number pops up immediately. We all let out a big Yes! While on hold to verify the registration, we weigh her. 425 grams. Low end of Carly’s range, probably normal if she was feeding in the wild. They finally pull up the chip number. The bird’s name is Sophia.
It takes several more calls, but we eventually learn she was bred by a keeper at the San Diego zoo, has always been flighted, was originally bought by a woman in Coronado, and had been resold through a local bird store about 6 months ago. When I reach the new owner on the phone — he didn’t even know the bird was chipped — he says she has been missing 2-3 days. Two to three?? I’m amazed he can’t tell me the exact number of hours at this stage. He also sounds kind of non-chalant about it. No ad. I’m really hoping I don’t have to see Sophia go to a bad home.
It turns out to be a very happy reunion. She lives near the people who found her and they had flyers up. She is clearly very attached to Jose and practically has to be pried off of him to go in the carrier.
I’m going to help them recall train her.
Back home, I’m totally wiped out. I decide to do a minor DIY job (installing a CO2 tank below my sink for soda water) which turns out to have hellish complications, and I hack a chunk out of my finger when a wrench slips closed on it. But the work keeps me numb for awhile. Blood… meh.
Later it’s time for my weekly purge, a bit early this week. I try St Francis again. Because you never know.
Special thanks to Kimmie and everyone else at Rose Canyon Animal Hospital. I’ve heard good things about them, and they were wonderful.
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