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I’m about to tell you a true story of an experience that recently happened to me. A very stressful and heart felt story. I’m telling this story to help prevent someone else from going through the agony I experienced. And learn from my mistake.

But before I get into the story a little back ground is necessary. Ever since I was of a single digit age I had pets. Alligators, turtles, a cat and a dog, geese and ducks all at the same time. I cared for these pets, and today I believe it was a ploy of my mom to keep me busy, but none the less, I loved it. I do have an understanding of animals. Some of this understanding is from having so many pets over the years and the other is from my experience in the woods and fields. I believe that pets are just that. They are our responsibility and require our care, dedication, love and attention.

I have had Blueberry a little over a year or almost a year (not sure which). She was very raw with no training and came to use (my wife and I) from our grandkids. My wife and I bought Blueberry for them to ease my grandkids transition from the country to the city. This was my daughter’s idea. She felt by substituting Blueberry, which was named by my grandson, would ease the transition from owning chickens and ducks. Because of my daughter’s cats, and the children’s lack of interest, she asked if my wife and I would take her. We agreed.

Blueberry steps up, and stays on my shoulder and prunes on a play/ training area I built. The biggest thing is the bond we now have. If I’m in the house and not in her sight, she squeaks and paces the perch. Once she sees me, she is fine. I have also taught her to fly from her perch to me with a clicking sound I make with my mouth. I also make a kissing sound that makes her vocal. I also whistle a special repeat call to let her know where I’m at. If she can’t see me I would whistle and it would calm her down a little when I wasn’t in view. I trained her to come to me if I change places in the house, and to give her exercise doing so. I would use these various calls and almost play a game of hide and seek and to also have better control of her if I needed. Little did I know but this training would be the difference in life and death for her.

The Friday before father’s day (2016) I took a vacation day because my four grandchildren were coming over Saturday to spend the night. I worked around the inside and outside of the house all day long. I also made several trips to the store. At about 5:30pm I was sitting down in the front yard under the houses over hang while my two dogs lounged in the front yard on a hot and humid day. It was time to unwind. I heard Blueberry in the closed up house raising cane as she often did when she knew I was in the area but she couldn’t see me. So I decided to get all my girls together. Blueberry had been outside with me before, free on my shoulder with no circumstances. So I went in and got her. She came out with me. She was on my shoulder grunting in my ear, tugging at my t-shirt collar, bumping my ear ---all was good. This went on for a good half hour.

Then something happened. I don’t know what it was. There wasn’t any loud noise or an object or a car. It was as though she simple decided she was bored and wanted to fly. She just went flying off my shoulder and into a tree across the street. The tree she landed in was about 20 yards from me and she perched about 10 feet up on the edge of the tree. I could see her, and started calling to her. She was real hesitant and didn’t want to come to me. After about 45 minutes, she decided that she was moving and flew to a new tree about an additional 10 yards from the one she just left and went higher up in it. Now I cannot see her. She is vocal with me as I make various calls and talk. As night falls, her calls become less fluent. I had no choice but to retire for the evening and try to get her the next day providing she was OK and still in the area.

Weather the bird is tame or wild they are most vocal in the morning and evening (especially when in the wild). They also use the calls of their mates or flock to remember those members location. If a flock member or mate calls at night, they know where they are in the morning, and usually will verify that when they wake up. I have seen this behavior with pheasants, turkeys, geese and ducks as well as your Sparrows, Cardinals, and Robins.

At first sun up, I mean the sun hasn’t fully lit up the skies and the local birds are starting to call, I join in with some communicating calls that I used on Blueberry. Blueberry replies and a big wave of relief comes over me. I now know she is still alive and in the area. As a matter of fact she hasn’t left the tree she perched in the night before.

For hours I try to get her from the tree. It is difficult to find her actual location in the tree. One, she is a very small bird and her call starts and stops. It’s not frequent enough to pin point her location. Her color blends into the blue skies as you look up through the trees. You have to concentrate on movement and not color. Binoculars don’t help. Here chirps are echoes off the houses. The wind is blowing a little bit. When a bird calls and turns his head as she calls, and the wind is plowing, the bird’s actual location is masked by the wind and movement. Again, it is difficult to pinpoint a small bird. The biggest thing is dealing with the wind and the echoes. These two things make it difficult to pinpoint her location.

I figured if she would see me, since she is responding, that she would come to me. So to achieve visualization (birds eye view) I move to several advantage points of the tree to allow her to see me. I believe she did, but now it is 10-11 am. The sun is heating up, cars are moving up and down the street and people are walking on the sidewalks. Not like in a city downtown, but a rural suburb. By this time, all my neighbors know what is going on. I believe, because of this activity, she is afraid to come to me. I catch her fly above my head and land in a tree more than 30 foot up in my next door neighbor’s yard. Her communication stops as my grandchildren drive up to be dropped off for the night at around noon.

My grandchildren ask me what I’m doing and I indicate that we have to get their clothes and stuff inside, and I would tell them. Once we get in the house, I explain that Blueberry has flown away. My oldest grandson replied as though I was joking. I indicated that I wasn’t joking with a serious voice. The expression on his face was as though someone took a rag and wiped off a smiling expression, while painting on a sad one. I told them that the good news is we might get her back, or she would be gone forever. I explained I would do all I could to get her back.

As Saturday wore on, I would try when I could to call Blueberry. I say when I could, because it is hard to watch four children from the age of 1 ½ to 9 even with two adults. You can’t leave them for two minutes. Besides they were here to see use and it was up to us to spend time with them. We actually had to leave the house and go do a couple fun things. All the while I’m still thinking about Blueberry.

Earlier I took out her cage and placed it in a location where, if she looked, she would see it. The cage had food and water in it in case she found it. I also took some seeds and placed them in a feed trough, covered it with plastic wrap and rattled it like a maraca to choux her in. All she would do is call. We were approaching 24 hours for her to be gone.

As the night approached, it was soon to be her second night alone in the wild. The days are hot and the nights aren’t much better. With high eighties and low nineties with high humid days, I wasn’t sure how long she would last. I went on the internet and there was no information I could find about parotletts and how long they could go without food and water. I did find some information on the parotletts talk web site and it was comparable to a parakeet. It indicated that it was about two days without water and about three days without food. I also realize that with many animals, humans included, water is the most important.

A few hours before dusk I wanted to call for Blueberry and see if her location changed. She did respond as she did all day from my neighbor’s back yard. I could notice that her call didn’t seem as loud and almost seemed further away. For the next two hours I called again and again, and each time she responded she was further and further, or weaker. Finally, there was no response. I would call for another ½ hour before night fall and no response. I confide in my wife. Weeping heavily, I explain that if she has passed it was my fault and I had neglected my responsibility as her owner and caused her death unnecessarily. It is one thing for your pet to die of natural causes, but if you caused the death, that’s hard to live with. It would be very hard for me to live with. I explained I had a fathom walker on my shoulder, almost feeling she was there with me. It was going to be a very tough-tough thing to take since Blueberry and I had become so close. There would be reminders such as her empty spot where her cage would have been. The difficulty telling the grandkids she is not coming back. That night I prayed to god. My wife said a prayer, my daughter said a prayer, and our grandchildren said a prayer when we laid them down to sleep. One thing was for sure. I wasn’t going to give up.

It’s kind of funny how some things work, and maybe I’m weird. I’m an old Marine, high school football player and wrestler and boxed with golden glove fighters, but this little bird has my heart. While in college I was once asked, “if you were a hero with only human powers you actual possess, what would that power be”? Mine would be the protector of those that can’t protect themselves. Those that get bullied or picked on, children and others that can’t protect themselves and the miss treating of pets that give use their heart and soul just to be with use. I would give my life to save someone else. I will severely hurt you and not crack an emotion, but this tiny little bird has my heart hurting like a just lost my best friend. I wasn’t going to give up! I still had time to find her.

I’m extremely saddened because I haven’t heard from her. I lay awake all night staring at the ceiling. About 5:00am Sunday, father’s day morning (2016), I get up and grabbed a cup of coffee and headed outside. My grandchildren are still fast asleep. I start calling immediately, but no response. I then continue this for a half hour or forty five minutes. I then tell my wife I’m going to check the back yards of the neighbors and any other yards I can get into to see if she is around. She might be on the ground to week to stay in the tree, or worse. Then I was going to walk through the neighborhood and see what I could find. My wife wished me luck and a prayer, and off I went. I went into the neighbor’s back yards, just the two by my house, because the other neighbor’s fences were too high. But there was no sign of her anywhere.

I started walking very slowly and headed in the direction she could have gone as she was fading away from my neighbor’s house the night before. As I’m walking I see that someone had a recreational fire in their back yard. The smoke was still visible in almost all of my neighboring back yards. This could have been what made her leave, if she did. After walking about a three hundred yards and reaching the end of my block, I made a call and Blueberry answered! How did you know it was her, you might ask? I recognize her sound from all the other birds, again from experience. I can tell what the sound of a Red-tail hawk is as compared to a Road-side hawk. So I know it is her. All of a sudden I have energy, Hope has returned. I know she is still alive. I’m in a much better situation in the area because distractions around me are minimal. No cars, no people, no dogs. She is in a tall tree and I can’t see her. Again, I try to move around it so she can see me. After about a half hour, I don’t see her, but she moves from the tree and goes to a different tree about thirty yards away. Keeping my body openly visibility and no traffic or people, are still on my side. I now work this new tree she is in with calls and vocalism. Going around the bottom and expanding my call and visibility circle to the outside perimeter of the tree.

I stand on the outside of the tree looking up, when all of a sudden, I see her fly out of the tree heading for a long strip of trees about a hundred yards away. My heart sinks to my stomach thinking she isn’t coming back. She is just going to continue to fly from me. I now doubt how strong our bond was and how freedom is far more powerful than a human/bird bond. Suddenly like a switch was turned on, she turns around after about ten yards of flight and comes back to the tree that she just left. She is now sitting on the very outside edge of the tree. I can see her and she can see me. I see her neck is outstretched and moving side to side. She is measuring something up for flight. She isn’t quite sure, so I really pour on the clicking sound I made when I wanted her to come to me in the house, along with calling her name. She comes flying off the branch, and heads toward me. She flies over my head, and I thought she was going to keep going. I stood perfectly still, and she did a spin in mid-air and landed on my head. She was chirping so fast it was unbelievable. I immediately was flooded with emotion and it’s even hard to type this as I well up with tears. I asked her to do a step up on my hand and she did. I talked to her with calm ness as she is still frantically chirping. I believe she is just as happy to see me as I’m her. My heart is beating a hundred miles a minute. I had to implement a plan to retain her without scaring her or just grabbing her, which I had already thought of before, in-case I found her. I needed to secure her before she got spooked again. I still had her on my finger. I poked my chest out and told her to step up. She did and started to head towards my shoulder. With my left hand I took the bottom of my T-shirt and folded it up to my chin and held it closed with both hands. I had her. I had her secured.
I ran home, ran in the house yelling for my wife. By now the grandchildren were up as well. I was yelling, “I got her”, I got her”. Everyone was excited and we all couldn’t believe we had her. My grandchildren said you did it “Paw Paw”. “You Got her”.
I opened the shirt and placed her on her perch. I had my grandson help get her cage into the house. I then changed her food, fresh water and started to clean the cage. I took her from the perch to the cage, once it was cleaned, and she immediately started drinking and eating. After she ate and drank a bit she started pruning and took a snooze. I inspected her all over for any injures and she was fine. We took the grandkids home around noon and when my wife and I returned, I took a cool shower with her. She then ate and drank some more and slept some more. Today three days later, she seems to be back to 100% didn’t forget or reject anything. I almost believe we are more bonded than ever since we experienced this together.

I learned allot. I learned that my bird is smart and truly bonded to me. I believe she will never be outside again unless in a cage. I’m far more cautious with her now. The biggest is turning off ceiling fans and insuring windows and doors are closed when she is out of the cage. Which I know has nothing to do with this story except someone said,” don’t take your bird outside,” and I did anyway. I’m so glad that I have trained her to come to me. Train your bird too. Even if you think you don’t need it, you may need it sometime. It is great to need it and have the training, than to need it and not have the training. I need to do even more training with her which is a ongoing issue for her activity.

Do some of the things I did if your bird flights. Pray to god, he will here you. I witnessed a miracle! Never, ever give up. Eliminate outside influences. Make sure there are no cars, dogs, and people if you are trying to retrieve your bird. Because of those scary things, it increases the difficulty of getting the bird back. Use objects, sounds, items that your bird is familiar with, including the cage, and have it outside to possible draw him/her back in. This is their home and safe haven. Have and make noise with toys or other objects (bells, seeds on plastic, etc.). You may not see them, but they may see you. Never plan any activities while your bird is loose. If you did, cancel it. Concentrate on getting your bird back. Every minute you can dedicate to your birds rescue helps. Let your neighbors know, especially if you live in a subdivision, because you may need to be in their yard for some reason. Never climb a tree after the bird. This could cause him/her to flight. Your bird could beat the odds, so again, don’t give up.

I hope you never need to research this article, but if you did, I hope it helps.
 

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I'm so happy for you. That's amazing!
 

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Wow, very amazing story. You must be so thankful you got Blueberry back.
Thank you for posting this very important reminder of how dangerous it is to take a bird outside unsecured.
 

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So happy you got your buddy Blueberry back!
Your story sounds like a miracle, and it shows how important it can be to train your birds to know your voice, and to come fly to you from wherever they are. Amazing. Thanks for sharing!
 

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:D:eek::D:eek::D !!!!!!!!!!!!

Dear LUCKY DUDE,
I will tell you that you are one lucky dude and Blueberry is one very fortunate birdie! I love it when things work out, don't you? You said you were a Marine at one time and a coach, and a boxer, etc.....and that you thought deeply how such a little bird could affect you the way Blueberry did? Well, welcome to the world of God's smallest creatures!

I, too, had a career that involved being rough, tough, full of myself. I had a career in undercover law enforcement. I dealt with the dregs of society. I have been shot, stabbed, and nearly beaten to death by 11 people in a gang in the Florida Everglades. But, like Blueberry, I survived. My heart went out to you as I read about your experience!

It is amazing how a little creature could grab onto your soul like Blueberry did/has. You and I are grown men with tough backgrounds, but we are brought down to our knees by something that weighs an ounce and is 4 inches long!

If this happened to my Bogie, I would not give up! My heart would ache like the dickens while he was away. I would blame myself. I would be sick. But give up? Not on your life! Men like us are rare. We would do anything, anywhere to save a pet or human. I salute you for not giving up. You sensed a need and you fulfilled your obligation. You also own up to making a big boo boo. You also taught your grandchildren a huge lesson about never giving up and thinking things through.
You are one lucky dude.:cool::cool:

 

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Whew----what an amazing story! Blueberry and you are like glue--- You are a RARE individual to have all your persistence paid off reuniting with your bird.
Blueberry is so fortunate to have you train her to do the right thing!! Very best in the future to you and Blueberry.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
David----You understand what I was going through completely. You are right in everything you said. You have been through far more than I have, but yes these small creatures are amazing. In some ways just like a dog with their emotions and personalities. Thank You so much for sharing your personal experiences. The Marine Corp has a saying, "Semper Fidelis" which means always faithful. As long as Blueberry is in my life I shall be always faithful to giving her a meaningful life for her dedication to me. Again-----Thank You!
 

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Gosh, the story of you and Blueberry had me sitting on the edge of my seat, practically holding my breath. So glad there was a "Happy Ending" and it came on Father's Day, too!
 

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Thank you for sharing your story. I'm very happy it had a happy ending because I just can't imagine how sad that would be if it didn't.

My bird has never gone outside without being in a cage. We have a smaller cage than his regular one that we use just for outside.

There are so many lessons one could learn about bird safety. Things like never letting your bird out when the stove is on or pots are heating. Being aware of electric shock hazards. Falling into the toilet. You name it.

My bird barely flies because he has cataracts in both eyes, though he can see a little bit. If my bird ever got outside and went missing he'd probably have even more risks than yours did. Losing my man would be absolutely devastating for me. My husband and I are childless and my little bird man is heading towards 14 years old.

Your descriptions of training really served you well. My little guy responds to my calls, as well.
 

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So thankful for the happy ending. All Glory and Praise to God for protecting and returning little Blueberry safely home.
 

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I too have read the story with bated breath and was surprised by the happy end!

Was the bird clipped? How come you decided to take her outside? You could look into making a harness for her, I've head of people doing that despite their small size.

How old was your bird? How exactly did you start flight recall training?

Sturdy little thing! I wonder if she drank any dew or such while parked in the trees. Maybe she even found something edible.
 
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