Lucky lady: Lost parakeet finds a happy ending |

Lucky lady: Lost parakeet finds a happy ending

Rebecca West of Eagle County Animal Services drives three hours in a snowstorm to save tiny bird that wandered into El Jebel yard

Eagle County Animal Services officer Rebecca West enjoys a moment with the parakeet she collected last week, making a three-hour drive in adverse conditions, to assist the bird.
Special to the Daily

A lonely, lost parakeet picked the right El Jebel yard to wander into last week. She is one lucky little bird.

According to John Sanders, who lives in the Crown Mountain Park area, his neighbors were packing up their belongings in preparation to move the next day when the parakeet sauntered into their back yard through a hole in the fence. They were perplexed by their visitor and unsure of what to do. But all the humans on the scene were sure of one fact.

“That little bird could not have survived the night,” Sanders said.

The neighbors opted to bring the parakeet inside and put in a call to Eagle County Animal Services. Even though it was after hours and a snowstorm was brewing, field services officer Rebecca West answered their call. She drove a total of three hours, through adverse conditions, to bring the bird to safety at the Eagle County Animal Shelter in Eagle.

According to West, she had just finished dinner when she got the bird call. While animal control officers are allowed to evaluate after-hours situations individually and make response calls accordingly, West decided to answer the request personally.

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“As cheesy as it sounds, we are here to protect animals, whether they swim, fly, slither or crawl,” she said. “It was a snowy night, but I thought, ‘Why not? That is what we are here for.’”

It also helped that the people who found the bird were willing to hold her — Eagle County Animal Services believes the bird is female — inside until West could arrive.

“She really picked the right house to come to. She is a very lucky bird,” said West.

Big personality

The parakeet — who is nameless at present — has been warm and cozy at the Eagle County Animal Shelter since April 19.

“She is doing really well. She is really thriving,” West said. “I am sure she will get rehomed if her original owners don’t find her. I wish I could keep her. She is very cute.”

When the bird arrived at the shelter, the staff followed its regular protocol. An abandoned animal is placed on a five-day hold before being transitioned to adoption.

During that time, the staff posts information about the animal on the shelter website. Additionally, staff routinely reaches out to the public via its Facebook page. In this case, shelter employees also set information to other pertinent websites, but no owners stepped forward to claim the bird during the past 10 days.

The Eagle County Animal Shelter shared this Facebook post to try to locate the parakeet’s owners.
Special to the Daily

According to shelter manager Rhiannon Rowe, one of the shelter employees is planning to adopt the parakeet, provided she gets along with the bird the employee already has at home. In the meantime, the shelter workers are enjoying having a feathered visitor.

Rowe found out the bird doesn’t have clipped wings when she took off flying one day. “But she will always come back and sit with you. She is very friendly, and she sings when she gets excited,” Rowe said.

Rowe agreed that the parakeet is a lucky lady — an obviously domesticated animal that found itself alone in the great outdoors. “If she was just left outside at night, she definitely wouldn’t have known what to do,” she said.

At risk of neglect

While this particular parakeet is at the cusp of a happy ending, not all birds are as fortunate. West said it is surprising that county animal services don’t respond to more bird calls, noting that nationwide psittacines — members of the parrot family — are among the most chronically neglected pets.

Rowe added that many pet birds don’t get the regular veterinary care that dogs and cats receive. “People just don’t seem to know much about bird husbandry,” she said.

The animal shelter typically sees around six or so birds a year, including rescued and surrendered animals. If an avian client requires special, long-term care, the shelter teams with the Gabriel Foundation in Elizabeth, Colorado.

“This parakeet had definitely been a pet at some point,” West said, pointing to the parakeet’s comfort around people. “She has a lot of personality for a little bird.”

West also noted that this parakeet rescue has two lucky outcomes. The parakeet is safe and the officer is feeling appreciated.

“Animal control are really the unsung heroes in this story,” Sanders said. He noted that people are often upset with animal control officers because they enforce fines or respond to complaints. Sanders wanted to make sure people heard a tale about animal compassion on a night when he wouldn’t have been so willing to make a three-hour drive, through Glenwood Canyon, during a snowstorm.

West is grateful, but a little taken aback, by the attention.

“Sometimes we do have very exciting stories, but no one is ever around to see them,” she said. “It is really nice when people take the time to appreciate the work we do every day.”

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