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Old 05-11-2015, 06:52 AM
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Disaster strikes

What a stressful afternoon I had yesterday.

I made a new perch for my macaw yesterday and set it up in the garden, put him in his harness and tethered him to it. Me, my brother and my mate were in the garden having a bbq with him. I popped back in the house to go to the toilet quickly but then heard my brother shouting for my attention. My macaw had taken flight, caused the stand to collapse and his lead came off, he broke free and flew away.

I went charging out the front door, ran across the neighbours front yard and leapt over their fence, much to their disgust. Ran across the road and nearly got run over. And then we spotted him, sitting at the top of a tree a few hundred meters away. All I had to do was walk over there, climb up the tree and get him back.

Only there was one massive problem in the way. Tears started to fill my eyes as I peered through the fence of the military base, watching him sitting up in the tree. I called to him but there was no hope. He could barely hear me and was very high up. I always said that if he escaped Sod's law would dictate that he would fly straight over the base where I can't get him. We live less than 100m from the perimeter fence.

I contemplated climbing over the fence and whether I'd make it to him in time before getting shot, all the while limping with a ripped up leg. An enebitable injury resulting from the death defying barbed wire fence.

So not being one to give up easy, I asked my brother to stay at the fence and to watch him like a halk. And to call me if he moved. I ran to the base entrance a little way up the road. There was no one there. An unmanned entrance. I ran back in the house, grabbed all his food, got in the car and went zooming off to the main entrance several miles away. This is a big base with a large residential area.

At the main gate I explained what had happened and begged and pleaded. They disappeared back in their office and started talking on their radio. I waited and waited my heartbeat ever increasing. I knew every second could be the difference between success or failure. And there I was standing there, powerless to even start looking for him. But there was still hope. My brother hadn't called so he must still be sitting in that tree. But time was ticking on.

The guard came out and said they were still waiting but said it was unlikely they'd let me on. I waited some more and then someone else turned up. But was unable to offer any help. She said she could go and have a look for me but wouldn't touch him. Thanks, that's a lot of help. But I somehow managed to keep my cool. There's no way I'd get on if I started loosing my temper. Anyway, it needed to be me looking for him. I'm the only person he'd let capture him.
I begged and pleaded some more so they said they'd call someone else with higher authority. But it didn't look promising.

However, they did mention that I could get on base if I knew someone who could sign me on. I knew this was the case all along and that it was unlikely they'd let me on alone. My best friends dad has a base pass as he's half American and used to be in the military. But they are notoriously difficult to get hold of as they rarely answer the phone. I did know this from the start and the whole time I'd been calling their phone over and over again until I got an answer. Must have been driving their dog crazy.

Some hope! I finally got an answer! My friends dad was out at work till 9. It's all over!

But his mum said she could sign me on instead. She can't drive so I'd need to go and pick her up. Luckily she dropped all her plans to help me out. But then I got that dreaded call. 20 minutes had passed now and he'd flown off out of sight. It was no longer going to be a simple job to find him.

So I gave up waiting to be let down by the security guard, got back in the car and zoomed off to my friends house. I picked his mum up and rushed back to the base. That was another 15 minutes gone. It had now been 35 minutes since the escape.

Getting signed onto base was another time consuming affair. Including photographing me and searching my whole car. No sence of ergencey whatsoever. Everyone was so slow as my heartbeat continued to increase, my legs starting to turn to jelly at the thought of never seeing him again. But finally we were on. A whole hour after the initial escape. My friends mum said not to worry, it's not over yet. I said to her it had only just begun. The search was on.

A quick call to my brother confirmed that he could no longer be seen or heard. Now I'd been on this base a few times before but didn't know my way around very well. With a a bit of help we managed to find our way to the tree he had originally been sitting in. I got out and had a look around the area. No sign of him.

We then got back in the car to try and cover a larger area quicker. But there were so many massive trees, buildings and other brids on this base and he could have gone anywhere. The base is massive and like a labyrinth when you don't know it well. We drove around for a while looking in every direction but to no avail.

I then decided to go back to where he originally disappeared. I left my friend at the car as she's a lot older then me and can't walk as fast. I moved as fast as I could covering as much ground as I could. I lost my bearings and just started searching randomly in any direction I had a hunch. But I got lost.

But then I heard that distinguishable macaw scream. It was him! But I only just heard him. He was a way off and I wasn't sure what direction the sound came from. I stormed off in the direction I thought was correct but was feeling ever more hopeless. There were trees and birds everywhere and I was totally lost by this point. I'd never find him. I continued on but to no avail.

I eventually made it back to the car and we popped into the security office to report the incident to increase my chances of getting him back in the following days if someone else found him. It was nearly dark and my friend's mum didn't want to be out looking much longer as it felt hopeless.

We were about to leave base when my brother called and said they could hear him screaming. He must be back near where he originally escaped. We went rushing back over to talk to my brother on the other side of the fence. And then I heard him scream again. A lot closer this time. I turned and ran towards the noise. Looked up a tree. Wasn't there. Then he screamed again even louder. I ran towards another tree. He'd seen me and was screaming at me more and more. I got to the tree. He screamed again. I was sure he was right above me now.

I looked up searching frantically with my eyes. There he was!!! I found him. Now for the easy part. Climbing a tree. I tried to lure him down with food for a few minutes and even tried to tempt him with some forbidden chocolate but to no avail. So I tried to climb the tree. But I couldn't reach the bottom branch. Even with a run and kick up the tree.

I knew what I had to do. My friend being an older lady was never going to have the strength to boost me up so I went running off to get help. Luckily I quickly found to guys to help me. They gave me a boost up the first branch and then I was away. I quickly climbed up to where my bird was. But I couldn't reach him. The branch he was sitting on was too weak to climb on. I tried to lure him over but to no avail. So I precariously leaned out and managed to grab the bottom of his lead. I pulled it within reach with a branch it was leaning on. I leant out and I got the lead!

The feeling of relief I had with the end of that lead finally in my hand. I gently encouraged him to walk down the branch into my arms. I put his lead round my wrist, got him on my shoulder and carefully climbed down the tree. It was pretty high up. I had to jump the last part which freaked him out a bit but we both made it down safely. And then he had a photoshop with everyone who helped. And I gave my friend a massive hug.

So I'm in a great mood now having retrieved my beloved parrot. He's been extra mushy tonight. And some lessons learnt I must add. I burnt that dreadful perch on the bbq.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 05-11-2015, 07:18 AM
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Re: Disaster strikes

WOW that is a amazing story. Glad you got him back. Would love to see the pic
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Old 05-11-2015, 07:22 AM
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Re: Disaster strikes

Wow! What a story!
So glad it has a happy ending.
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Old 05-11-2015, 07:24 AM
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Re: Disaster strikes

OMG! "Stressful afternoon" would be an understatement, Shayne.

I am so happy and relieved that you got your baby back!! Holy smokes, I need to recover myself here after reading this.

Please give him some extra scritches from me, will you?
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Old 05-11-2015, 07:26 AM
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Re: Disaster strikes

So glad your story had a happy ending!
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Old 05-11-2015, 07:28 AM
Mr.Man (Congo Grey/17 year old) Sinbad (Senegal/ 40+ year old) Dewey (Senegal/ 13 year old)
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Re: Disaster strikes

I can only imagine the sinking feeling you had in your heart as your "family member" was flying away!
Happy to hear that you have been re-United!
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Old 05-11-2015, 07:30 AM
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Re: Disaster strikes

Wow, i stopped breathing for a while there! Thank heavens you got him back!
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Old 05-11-2015, 10:06 AM
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Re: Disaster strikes

I needed an extra cup of coffee for that intense read, Shayne! I am so happy everything ended well and your baby is safely back home. Bless you for your fast thinking and immediate action, this story could have had a far different outcome.

"She is not refined. She is not unrefined. She keeps a parrot." Mark Twain
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Old 05-11-2015, 10:45 AM
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Re: Disaster strikes

Glad you have him back! One thing that drug it out is that the FOCON (base alertness towards possible attacks) was raised last week due to possible threats so the guards would definitely search the snot out of any new vehicle or visitor. Normally they wouldn't let you on without an escort anyhow, the guards' hands are tied no matter what since they enforce policy.
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Old 05-11-2015, 12:43 PM
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Re: Disaster strikes

What a riveting story, and I was literally on the edge of my seat, hoping for the best and trying to prepare for the worst. I am thrilled that you got him back and that this story has a happy ending

In rescuing birds, I lost my mind but found my soul.
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