After 15 days away from home and a neighborhood rallying to find it, a parrot is safe in its Greenwood home again.
When her Amazon Parrot stopped returning her calls, Penny Durm thought she would never see her beloved pet again.
Gabriella, a green Amazon Parrot, has lived with Durm for 12 years. Despite all those years of living together, Gabriella is skittish when something was different about her owner. On July 4, Durm took Gabriella outside to get some air in an outdoor cage at her home in the Carefree subdivision. When Durm returned to retrieve Gabriella, she had a bandage on her arm, which startled the bird, she said.
“It scared her and her wings started flapping. I went to get her and boom, she was gone,” Durm said.
For the first few days of her absence, Gabriella was in a tree a street over from Durm’s home. While Durm was able to locate the parrot, and the two exchanged calls, Gabriella wouldn’t come down from the tree. Several attempts were made by local public safety officials to get Gabriella down, but those didn’t work out.
“A good friend of mine put a cage below the tree. I did everything I could to get her down,” she said. “The next day, the fire department came and said they couldn’t get her without putting a big truck on this neighbor’s driveway. Some guy came two to three days later with a drone, and he couldn’t get up underneath her.”
Gabriella then moved to a new location, Leisure Court in the Carefree neighborhood. When that happened, Durm would ride her bicycle four to five times a day from her house to where Gabriella was perched, but still, she had no luck.
“Leisure Court, the last time she was there, she would not come down. She’s scared of people and would not come back to me,” Durm said. “After the fifth or sixth day, she was gone. The next morning I went with my bicycle, she was gone and I thought, ‘well, I lost her.’ I thought (at least) she did one thing before she got eaten up or something, she got to fly.”
But Durm and her neighbors didn’t give up. Neighbors posted about the escaped parrot on social media and parrot websites. One neighbor, Jennifer Hicks, said she put information about Gabriella on ParrotAlert, the Nextdoor app, the “911 Parrot Alert” Facebook page and the community newsletter.
On July 19, those efforts finally paid off. Gabriella was spotted on Sutton Drive, near the intersection of Smith Valley Road and Morgantown Road, about three miles from Durm’s house. Their reunion was quick once they found each other.
“I was ready to go across the street and she zoomed right past me. I didn’t expect her to fly like a jet bomber when I put her cage down,” Durm said. “I said ‘look what I got for the girl,’ that’s what I say when I have something for her. I turned to walk away and she came and I got her. I think she was ready to go home.”
For being in the wild for 15 days, Gabriella was in relatively good shape when she returned home, Durm said.
“I brought her home and she ate, ate, ate and drank, drank, drank and slept and slept and slept,” she said.
Durm credits her neighbors, along with divine intervention, for bringing Gabriella home.
“I can’t stress enough how good the neighbors were. I met three neighbors in a row, as (Gabriella) went from one house to the next to the next,” Durm said. “If you lose a pet, get it out there, that’s what saved her.”