The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

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May 30, 2013

Flown the coop

Woman seeks help in finding missing macaw

— A macaw named “Pretty Bird” is on the wing off U.S. 31 in Athens, and the owner of the neotropical parrot is hoping anyone who sees the avian fugitive will give her a caw, er, call.

Pretty Bird flew the coop Sunday as his owner — Nicki Parcus — was feeding him at her dog-grooming shop, Doggie Stylz, on U.S. 31 South.

“I had two dogs being picked up Sunday and I was trying to put food in his cage, and he flew out,” Parcus said. “I’m a basket case. He is a tropical bird from South America, and he won’t survive out there.”

After three days of searching, the lovable, talking macaw was spotted Wednesday in a tree a few businesses north of her shop.

Frantic, Parcus called everyone she could think of to prevent her beloved from becoming a victim of fowl play, including Athens Police, Athens Fire & Rescue and animal control. No one was able to help, something Parcus found difficult to swallow. Someone suggested she call a tree trimmer, and in came Tarzan.

Ricky Adams of Adams & Son Tree Trimming — who has displayed a real talon for animal rescue — agreed to set up his bucket truck and try to capture Pretty Bird. (A few years ago, Adams rescued a cat that had been stuck 65 feet up in a tree for days.)

Police Chief Floyd Johnson said the Police Department tries to search for missing pets.

“We will try and help people locate their lost animals,” Johnson said. “We make officers aware of the missing animal and when they are in the area they might see it. Over the years, we have located several animals and returned them to their homes. In most cases, we don’t have units in an intensive search mode.”

Fire Chief Tony Kirk also offered an explanation.

“We would be out of position for a fire and, also, it would be a liability for the city for us to go on private property to get a bird or a cat,” Kirk said. “Also, if we started toward a bird in a bucket truck it would only startle the bird and it would fly elsewhere.”

He must have been reading Pretty Bird’s mind.

As Adams and Parcus stepped into the dual-bucket arm of the tree-trimming truck Wednesday afternoon and ascended slowly toward the bird, Pretty Bird bolted.

“I was almost within reach of him when he flew away,” said Parcus, who was near tears.

“If we would have had a net, I could have caught him.”

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