Fernando Flies the Coop

Fernando was caught after crashing a birthday party. Photo by L.S. Armstrong

Fernando was caught after crashing a birthday party. (Photo by L.S. Armstrong)

Friends and strangers rescue errant parrot 

He skipped out on his dearest friend, toured the treetops over Philipstown, stirred a commotion on social media and prompted a resident to give him a finger when he crashed a birthday party.

But Fernando, a 14-year-old Amazon parrot, survived with nary a ruffled feather, to the relief of his owner, Heather Howard Canavan of Garrison, who lost several days’ sleep during his absence. 

Canavan, Fernando and her other pets live on Travis Corners Road near Route 9. On July 30, Fernando was teasing one of the household’s three small dogs when the door opened just wide enough for pooch and parrot to slip through. 

“He was not accustomed to being outside at all,” Canavan said of her bird. He stopped on the porch, but, at that moment, a neighbor started a lawnmower, alarming Fernando, who flew to the treetops in the yard.

There he remained for four days, despite constant coaxing. Canavan put a cage and food outside and rigged a ladder and other aids to help him come down. 

Fernando called out but stayed put. 

Canavan went on social media to ask others to be on the lookout for her bird. People near and not so near responded with messages of concern, promises of prayer, offers to help and suggestions, which included directing a light hose spray into the tree so Fernando would think it was raining and descend. But he was too high for that to work.

Then, one day, he was gone, no longer visible around the yard. “I am devastated,” Canavan posted on Aug. 3. 

The wider world took note. “The community outreach was phenomenal,” she recalled this week. “Everyone in town was rooting for Fernando.”

She kept searching, pointing out that he was probably exhausted and confused, and asked anyone who spotted him to encourage him to perch on a finger and to take him indoors.

Fernando, safe at home (Photo provided)

Fernando, safe at home (Photo provided)

On Day 7, Fernando discovered an outdoor birthday party underway in Garrison. He landed, no doubt hungry and looking for a handout. According to Frank Pidala, who was there, his sister, Lisa Pidala Stagliano, held out a finger and Fernando climbed aboard to enjoy a slice of watermelon, one of his favorite treats. Salvatore Pidala promptly notified Canavan: “We have Fernando here.”

Exultant, Canavan posted on Facebook: “They got my baby; they got my baby; they got my baby! I’m coming to get you, Fernando!”

Frank Pidala attributed his family’s role to “being at the right place at the right time.”

Despite being weary, Fernando was soon “back in the groove” at home, chomping blueberries and lording over a visitor from atop his cage.  

However, he is expected to fly again in the not-too-distant future, but aboard an airline, as Canavan relocates to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, to assist her elderly mother there. 

“Magical,” she said of her parrot’s rescue, as they prepared for a new stage in their lives. “There is always hope. Never give up!”

One thought on “Fernando Flies the Coop

  1. As a pet parent, I know exactly how Heather Howard Canavan felt about losing her Amazon parrot. I’ve had more than one scare with my dog, Speedy. But somehow he always has come back, with the help of neighbors. I wish Heather and Fernando a healthy and happy life in British Columbia. I hear it’s beautiful.

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