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Bringing Back the Magic: A Transformational Memior
By Rei Ortega

My heart sank as I watched our much loved Timneh African Grey fly off of my finger, three days ago while in our backyard.  I ran after her, but she just kept on going.  After about 10 minutes of walking through our neighborhood, desperately looking up and down every tree, I was incredibly lucky enough to see her on the roof top of one of the houses down the street.  As I started to climb onto the roof, she flew off again, and this time, I was not so lucky as to see where she went.  The only thing that I could see was my beloved bird flying off into the distance and gliding down behind a bunch of houses.  Even though her wings had been trimmed, she flew so much better than I had ever imagined she could. 

I was crushed!  I spent the next three hours going door-to-door throughout my neighborhood, trying to keep my calm as i tried to explain to people that I had just lost my parrot.  Then I asked for their permission to look in their backyards for a few minutes, in case my Grey had landed there.  Many of them actually let me in, and some of them were so kind that they helped me look for my Timneh in their backyards, but I could not see or hear my little princess anywhere.  The sun was setting and it was beginning to get dark... looking for her in the thick mango trees and all kinds of other trees was extremely exhausting.  I was getting weary and depressed.  I started to imagine the worst, such as the thought that possibly one of the many cats that I had seen that day may have attacked her.  I finally gave up, thinking my search was futile.  I called my wife and mother, who were both devastated with my news.  Our lovely Timneh had lived with us for three years, and we were so attached to her!

To make matters worse, it rained pretty hard throughout that night.  The next morning, I found this Grey Play Round Table African Grey website ( ), and Maggie's article, "My Bird Flew Away, What Do I Do?"  It was a strong article and I believe that it had been written to teach a lesson: to be very careful with your birds.  I felt guilty.  I felt that it was my fault, which it was.  Regardless of how I felt about myself, and putting my feelings aside, I started to follow the suggestions.  I made 60 flyers from my home computer, printed about 25 letters with 2 pictures of our Grey on them, and joined a local lost and found web site.  Then I prayed (lots and lots), and I kept faith and hope that we would find her.  I decided not to give up.  I kept thinking about Maggie's article and something that I had read in it.  Maggie had written that many people tend to give up too soon, when they lose their birds.  I did not want to be one of those people, and so I started pounding the pavement in the terribly hot and humid Miami sun.  I went door-to-door, mailbox-to-mailbox, and I dropped off my letter in each box.  I taped flyers on most of the four-way stop signs.  I offered a $400 reward for anyone who may find and return our parrot to us.

Yesterday, I received two calls: one was from a young guy and another was from an elderly gentleman.  The young man told me that he had overheard an elderly woman commenting that she had seen a gray bird walking in her backyard.  I flew over to her house, which was about 3 blocks away, but she told me that the bird was no longer there.  The older gentleman told me that he had been hearing weird noises in his backyard, but that he never saw anything.  As time went on, I began to lose hope, again.  I started thinking about how our bird had never been on her own and about the number of cats that I had seen throughout the neighborhood.

At about 7 pm last night I received a call from that same older gentleman.  He told me that his wife was in their backyard, feeding what looked like a gray pigeon.  When I got to their house, they brought me into their backyard... and there she was!  My Timneh African Grey was perched on top of a chain-linked fence, just chilling and eating dry dog food from the elderly lady's hand.  I had Goosebumps all over my arms as I slowly walked towards her and asked her to step-up. I hugged that precious parrot and almost cried while holding her close to me, once again. 

Thank you!  Thank you so very much for having that article available for me!  That article on Maggie's site helped me find my precious feathered companion.  It was just short of a miracle: the rain, the incredible amount of trees, the cats, everything had just seemed to be working against us.  My mother was overjoyed.  She almost cried, I almost cried, and my wife was speechless.  This elderly couple, named Virginia and Willis, did an incredible act of kindness by calling me and by telling me that they had what looked like our parrot in their backyard.  They turned down the $400 reward money.  She said, "We will take nothing from you."  Wow! 

We also have a Congo African Grey, and I used to hold him on my hand, in our yard, too.  I will never, ever hold our parrots on my fingers, out in the open, again!  No more!  Nada!

I went out today and thanked all of the people who allowed me to go into their backyards to look for our bird.  They seemed so genuinely happy to hear that we had found her.  It is a very nice feeling to believe in the kindness of strangers, and I feel incredibly good about this entire experience.

Thank you once again for helping me hold onto hope and for helping me with all of your suggestions.  I just kept saying to myself, "Don't give up.  Have faith.  You will find her." And I did!!! 

For more information about how to find a lost parrot, please read this article:

African Grey,articles,nutrition,advice,living skills,Congo,Timneh, Grey parrot, African Grey, parrots, Maggie Wright
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