Friday, July 25, 2008

Sunny the cockatiel came home

Sunny spends some time with her owner, Deb Nadeau of Kingston, after they were reunited on July 23. In top photo, Ed Jean, the Epping man who found Sunny, stands next to the area where he picked her up.

In case you're wondering, yes, Sunny the missing cockatiel from Kingston, N.H., is now home safe and sound thanks to a welder who found her and took care of her before she was eventually reunited with her owner.

I'll take the credit for Sunny's return home. It was my story that appeared in the July 23 New Hampshire Union Leader about how Sunny was missing that led to her reunion.

Here's the follow up story on Sunny appearing in the July 26 edition.

By Jason Schreiber
Union Leader Correspondent

KINGSTON - Ed Jean was kneeling on the ground welding at Northland Forest Products last week when a little shadow caught his eye.

Curious, the Epping man stopped welding and lifted his shield protector to get a closer look. That’s when he noticed a yellow cockatiel with bright orange cheeks walking toward him.
Right away, Jean knew this cockatiel had lost her way.
“I thought it was strange seeing this bird out in the wild,” he said.
Without hesitation, the cockatiel jumped onto Jean’s hand and he took her home, bought some cockatiel seed from Walgreens, borrowed a friend’s bird cage, and hoped that her owner would come forward.
When a story about the Nadeau family’s search for their missing cockatiel named Sunny appeared in Wednesday’s New Hampshire Union Leader, Jean put the pieces together and it wasn’t long before Sunny was returned home safe and sound.
“The minute she heard my voice she started whistling from his car. I knew instantly it was her,” Deb Nadeau said, recalling the moment on Wednesday when she was reunited with Sunny a week after she took off from Nadeau’s Rockrimmon Road home.

The search for Sunny began on July 16 when she flew off of Nadeau’s shoulder after Nadeau was stung by hornets in her yard. While Sunny’s flight wings are clipped to prevent her from flying away, she managed to get air under her wings as she was perched off the ground on Nadeau’s shoulders. If she had been on the ground, Sunny never would have been able to fly off, Nadeau said.

The disappearance led to a week-long search that involved Nadeau, her husband, Bruce, her sister, Kathy Gagnon and niece Jessie who walked for miles looking for Sunny, and police officers who were told to be on the lookout for the bird during their routine patrols.

Neighbors knew Sunny liked fresh popcorn, so they put kernels on top of their bird feeders, hoping to attract her.

Sunny was spotted by visitors at Kingston State Park on July 18, but then she took off. There was no sign of her again because later that day she ended up less than a half-mile away in the yard of Northland Forest Products on Bartlett Street and then in Jean’s Epping home.

“It’s amazing she survived,” Deb Nadeau said Thursday as Sunny rested comfortably in her cage.

Fortunately, Sunny ended up in the hands of an old pro when she found Jean, a 44-year-old kiln operator and maintenance manager at Northland Forest Products. Jean’s had his share of parakeets over the years and his father used to raise canaries.

Sunny did pretty well while in Jean’s care for the week, though she wasn’t too fond of his rottweiler named Dale.
Dale and Sunny didn’t develop much of a bond, but Jean said it was still nice having her around.
“She kept my dog company for a while,” he said.

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