My friends tell me I’m a fixer. A protector.
(They also tell me I don’t know when to shut up.)
First-born traits, I suppose. I don’t know. I just know that’s my “normal.”
This year, July 3rd, my normal was flipped upside down.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Early afternoon. I’m in my backyard with Sunny and Flipper.
They are both on a stand. Sunny starts squawking so I put him on the grass — like I’ve done many times before.
Next thing I see is Sunny up in the air, flying toward the fence. He flies above it.
And across two yards before landing in a nearby tree.
I start calling, “Sunny, come here Sweetheart.”
The tree is tall — like a three-story building.
Sunny is perched near the top.
He squawks — wanting me to pick him up…
I take Flipper in the house.
Then go back out.
But Sunny is no longer in the tree. I call him. No response.
I’m starting to get a sinking feeling in my stomach.
Go back in the house. Open laptop. Go to FB and type:
Need your help.
Sunny flew away!
If you see him please call.
I didn’t tag anyone.
(If you ever find yourself in this situation — I hope you don’t — TAG your friends. Don’t be an idiot like yours truly.)
Within a few minutes the first reply comes in, “My husband and I will be there in 10 minutes.”
Half an hour later, as the group grows larger, we form teams. And start walking the streets, looking for Sunny.
Neighbors’ kids get on their bikes and start canvassing the streets farther away.
Nothing. Not a sign of him.
The “first responders” and I come back in my yard, where it all started.
And look again at that tall tree. We see Sunny!
He’s not squawking. Just staying there, near the top.
We go to that house.
A nice, elderly couple greets us. And take us to their backyard.
I’m calling Sunny to come down.
But he’s scared. And disoriented. He’s not moving.
It’s getting late. One of my friends calls the fire department.
When they arrive we talk for a few minutes.
Then the firemen get the ladders in place and start climbing.
They are half way up when Sunny moves to another branch. Away from the ladder. I stop the rescue operation. Sunny is going to fly away if we continue.
I thank the firemen.
And thank everyone else. There isn’t much to do except wait.
I went home. Five minutes later I was back with some food for him. But he wasn’t there anymore.
It’s dark now.
When I get home, I move the big cage out — in the middle of my backyard. Floodlight right on it.
So bright, it can be seen from a plane probably. Surely Sunny would be able to see it if he keeps flying around.
Finally the morning comes.
I take Flipper and go outside. I’m whistling and Flipper joins in.
A few minutes later we catch a glimpse of Sunny flying above the trees. Then he goes out of sight.
Hearing Flipper vocalize gave me an idea: make a recording — both of us whistling and calling Sunny.
Will play that recording when I’m out looking for him.
Half an hour later I’m knocking on doors. Telling people about Sunny. And giving them my number — to call if they see him.
Everyone is helpful. And encouraging.
Later I’m joined by friends.
For the next several hours we walk the streets. Calling Sunny.
Nothing. No sign of him.
Early afternoon I go home to check on Flipper.
She is really quiet.
A knock at the door: my friend’s son.
We sat at the kitchen table, me with a sad little Flipper on my shoulder, and talk. Actually, he’s “analyzing” me.
(Talking about upside down normal — I’m usually the “analyst.”)
He asks a series of questions –to assess the situation. Then he tries to answers un-asked questions I might have.
As in, “only a small percentage of the food that Sunny may eat (while out flying) is actually toxic.
And birds know what they are.” Good to hear that.
Twenty minutes later he leaves. He’ll be back later with his mom. And a speaker for my phone.
It will help with the recording — clarity and volume — reaching a wider area.
I go to update the post on FB. Support messages are pouring in.
All wishing Sunny to come back to the family before the evening celebration starts.
It’s the Fourth of July.
(Where I live, anyone can celebrate with fireworks, right in their own yard. It’s legal.)
Maybe all these well-wishes are coming true. I hear him!
I run outside — less than 30 yards away there is Sunny!
Top of the tree — squawking at me to get him down!
I jump and roll the bird stand in the middle of the street.
Two friends are blocking cars from entering our street.
Then it happens again. Sunny flies away…
The dark sets in.
The fireworks have started.
Sunny is out there. In the dark.
Scared every time fireworks light up the sky.
Scared by every explosion.
Morning. July fifth. I’m hoping. And I’m afraid.
Then I hear it. The familiar squawking.
Sunny is alive!
I take Flipper and put her on top of the cage in my backyard.
Sunny flies to us, landing by Flipper.
I take them both inside.
Home at last!
Sunny’s previous tree-hopping adventure was a little over 15 years ago.
That’s when he was rescued (from the hawks chasing him).
Over the years I trimmed his feathers — off and on. But he wasn’t interested in flying.
So I stop doing it. And look what happened!!!
Flipper’s wings are always trimmed. She’s a flyer.
(I found that out shortly after I rescued her. Will tell you that story some other time.)
We all make mistakes. In this case, my mistake almost cost Sunny his life.
And that’s the reason I’m writing this
(Trust me — it wasn’t easy; who wants to showcase their stupidity?!)
I’m hoping other bird-people reading this will learn from my mistake.
Trimmed wings will keep your feathered-friends safe.
Thank you for your help and your kindness
Those 42 hours — a humbling experience.
Friends. Neighbors. And all of you who reached out to me.
Your help and your kindness kept me afloat during those 42 hours.
P.S. I need to go shopping for some earplugs for my friends (I’m back to normal : )
Thanks for visiting.