When Aussie the pet parrot flew the coop, it took a Blackfalds police officer’s impressive tree-climbing skills to pull off a happy ending.
Mavis West, who runs the Crazy Bird Lady’s Rescue Centre in Blackfalds, said she will be forever grateful to her “angel,” Cpl. Christina Fenc, who shimmied up a pine tree to save Aussie.
The bright green Indian ring neck parrot made his escape from West’s home on April 2, while the door was open to allow in more rescue birds that West had brought down from Spruce Grove.
“Aussie is one of my forever babies. He is my cuddle bug,” recounted West, whose heart was “shattered” by the pet’s loss.
Even her kids and her boyfriend were upset by Aussie’s escape. It “turned our lives upside down in an instant.”
West felt like “the worst bird mom. I felt like I didn’t have what it takes to run a rescue” — which she now realizes was an extreme reaction stemming from her emotional distress.
She had spent all night, as well as several hours in the morning, trying to coax Aussie home.
Friends, relatives and neighbours were climbing on roofs, sheds and trees to try to catch him. A man with a fish net and his son joined the expanding rescue effort, to no avail.
Finally, somebody flagged down Fenc, who was passing by.
“She was sympathetic, kind” — and an amazing tree climber, as it turns out, recalls West. “She went right up there like it was nothing, and right for my baby boy.”
Although Aussie flew away before Fenc could reach him, he headed straight toward West, who “held onto him for dear life” and returned him to his cage in the house.
The bird was later checked out at Blackfalds Veterinary Hospital and had his wings clipped.
“From now on, this will be more commonplace within our rescue,” said West of the procedure.
She wants to send a big “thank you” to everyone who helped round up her bird.
“Aussie is a huge part of our family and life without him would not be the same.”