For The Bird…

Her name is Bailey and she’s special.

Do you believe in miracles?

I do.
And we just experienced one a week or so ago.
It was about 4 pm when my wife Diane called to tell me that Bailey, our 14 year old cockatiel, had flown out the door and flew high above the trees toward Lake Ida Road.
We’ve had Bailey since she was a baby and we adore her. The thought of her flying away was heartbreaking. How long could she last? She’s never really been outside unless you count a few car rides to grandpa’s house for babysitting.
I hurried home to join the search which now included Diane and our son Sasha.
We whistled and called her name, but we didn’t see anything.
It was boiling hot out. We didn’t even see a wild bird, never mind a pasta loving cockatiel we got from Brenda’s Birds in Delray.
It occurred to me that finding her would be like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack.
We went back inside to regroup and get some information.
I posted a message on our neighborhood Facebook page and surfed the Internet hoping to learn something about escaped cockatiels.
The information I unearthed was grim.
Finding a bird who escapes is a low odds deal and the more time they are gone, the worse the odds get.
We did find a suggestion to put her cage outside on the off chance that if she was still in the neighborhood she might recognize her perch and fly home.
So we tried it. And waited. To no avail.
Meanwhile, we continued to scour the neighborhood.
Sasha then came up with the idea of going  out with a speaker playing cockatiel songs including a YouTube video in which her late mate Butters sang the Tarantella. If you go to Youthbe and type in Butters Tarantella you can see it. It’s a brilliant performance.
Within minutes Bailey responded!  We heard her distinctive chirping answering the familiar sound of Butters’ voice. Miracle number one!
But while we heard Bailey, we still couldn’t find her. By this time, the search for Bailey included my wonderful neighbors Iain, his daughter Brooke and Barbara.
Then, miracle number two occurred when Iain spotted Bailey on the top of a mango tree in an empty lot adjacent to both of our homes.
We had found the needle in the haystack, but how do you get the needle to fly to us?
We tried by calling her name, whistling and generally praying that she would fly down to safety.
She refused.
Then some bad luck intervened when a mean old crow went after our poor little defenseless and domesticated pet.
Bailey fled the tree with the crow in hot pursuit. They flew over the house in a battle reminiscent of Top Gun, with the crow bearing down in our little bird, and Bailey flying like mad to get away. It was heartbreaking to watch. We had come so close to getting her back only to lose her again.
The pair flew fast down the canal and out of our sight.
We were stunned.
This was cruel.
What were the odds of finding her only to lose her again?
We were heartbroken.
By this time, it had been a few hours and it was starting to get dark. What would happen to our little Bailey? Did the crow get her? Did another predator? How would she survive in the wild?
We went back inside crestfallen.
Diane checked Facebook and yet another miracle occurred.
A neighbor had seen our post and another one on another Facebook  page I never would have seen. She put two and two together and contacted Diane alerting us to the post on the other page. A woman had found a brown cockatiel in her backyard in the Lake Ida neighborhood.
She was sitting out back (rare on a very hot night) and Bailey flew onto her shoulder (atypical behavior if she doesn’t know you, but she must have been tired) and the woman happened to be experienced with birds, happened to have a cage and had the presence of mind to post about it.
That’s a lot of breaks and we got ‘em all!
Within a few minutes, we were on the phone and making the match. Sasha cut through the backyard and came back with Bailey who was no worse for the ordeal other than a few scratches near her face. She chowed down on pasta and was off to bed.
All told, she was gone almost four hours.
What are the odds?!
Yes, dear friends there are small miracles.
The next day she was a little quiet as if she was processing her adventure. But the day after that she was back to her saucy self.
We don’t know how she got out of the cage and the house, but we are being extra careful now.
After all, she’s a magical little bird saved by a speaker, chased by a crow and rescued by a very Good Samaritan. Whew!!!


  1. Patricia Sciarillo says

    So glad you got her back. It certainly was a miracle especially with that nasty crow after her! Happy 4th.

  2. David Reeves says


  3. Randall Smith says

    Jeff. I was reading this post i pins and needles. Thanks god she came back okay!

  4. Marilynn DePalma says

    Happy ending

  5. Anne Gannon says

    What a great story. You are lucky and your bird loves you.

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