Lost Vermont cockatiel seeks out help in Maine
Posted July 15-On the morning of July 6, Mike Bennett of Bennett’s Lumber was getting out of his harvesting machine at a Gilead job site.
He saw an odd-looking bird fly out from under his pickup truck.
“Did you see that?” he asked another worker nearby. “It looked like an exotic bird.”
The other logger asked Bennett what he had been drinking.
Then he saw it, too.
The bird landed on the windshield wiper of the pickup. Bennett walked over, put out his finger, and the bird happily hopped aboard.
Bennett got into his truck and promptly called his father, Don.
“He said he had to keep working, and didn’t know what to do with the bird,” Don said Thursday. “I told him to bring it to the house and we’d figure something out.”
So Mike drove to Bethel Village and dropped off the unusual bird, which they determined was an Australian cockatiel.
“It was tickled to death to be with people,” said Don. “After several flights about the house, it helped the ladies rearrange their earrings and hairdos. It sat on everyone’s shoulder. This was obviously someone’s pet.”
Not wanting to take a chance on another escape, the Bennetts bought a used cage from Peterson’s Pet Stop in Bethel. They also bought some bird food, which the cockatiel ate ravenously.
Don and his wife, Cheryl, then pondered what to do next. They decided the first step would be to call people in Gilead and ask if anyone was missing a cockatiel.
No one was, but someone suggested they check Craigslist on the Internet to see if anyone had posted a “Missing Cockatiel” notice.
They had. A bird had been lost July 3 in Shelburne, N.H.
Don called a cell phone number and got Stuart Bevin of White River Junction, Vt.
“You have it? I can’t believe it!” Bevin said. “Where are you?”
“I’m in Bethel, Maine,” Don replied.
“I’m in Bethel, Maine, too,” said Bevin. “I’m staying at the Norseman Inn.”
Bevin lost no time in driving a mile to pick up his pet.
“He jumped right onto his finger,” Bennett said.
“I didn’t think we’d find him,” Bevin said Thursday.
He explained that he and his wife had been camping in Shelburne with “Mo,” who is two years old. When they tried to transfer him from a cage to a carrier, he got away and flew up into nearby trees. He hung around the area for a while, but as dusk approached, he took off toward a mountainous area.
“I grew up in Shelburne, and I knew there wasn’t much in that direction,” said Bevin, a forester. “My wife and I were heartbroken.”
Bevin was in the area for a forestry job in Errol, N.H. His wife returned home, and he decided to stay in Bethel while he worked in Errol a few more days, so he could return to the campsite morning and evening to call the bird.
“I really didn’t have much hope, but I at least wanted to know I tried,” he said.
Bevin and Don estimated that as the cockatiel flies, Mo traveled about seven or eight miles to arrive at the logging site off the North Road.
“If he had to get lost, he picked a good time,” said Bevin, because the hot weather last week closely resembled that of Mo’s native habitat.
He also picked the right people to seek out, Bevin said.
“He was fortunate that he was found by kind-hearted people. We are very grateful to the Bennetts,” he said.
Mo’s adventure did take a toll. “He was a little dehydrated, and he lost some weight,” said Bevin. But the bird was eating and recuperating well.
He was also getting back to his habit of mimicking household sounds.
Unlike parrots, cockatiels don’t generally speak, Bevin said.
Instead, Mo likes to imitate such sounds as a beeping microwave, a spoon scraping a yogurt container, and people brushing their teeth.
But the cockatiel can expect one change, Bevin said.
“The tips of his wings are going to be clipped.”