Parrot poses problem for firefighters

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, June 24, 2008

When three Brookhaven firefighters decided on dinner at Wendy’sMonday night, they didn’t expect to be caught up in the middle of adaring rescue of a feathered fugitive – and probably, neither didthe parrot.

After a short standoff in the parking lot of the Wendy’s onBrookway Boulevard, a green parrot was captured by firefighters whowere simply stopping by for a bite to eat.

Wendy’s assistant manager Casena Johnson said employee DamianOtis was working the drive-thru when he looked out the window andsaw a large red and green bird resting in one of the trees on theeast side of the building.

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Johnson called the police. But since the animal control officerwasn’t available, restaurant employees simply took crackers out tothe parking lot for the bird to eat and wondered what to donext.

Then the big red truck arrived.

“They just happened to be stopping by, and a customer flaggedthem down and told them a parrot was in the tree,” Johnson said. “Ithought we should catch it because I figure someone’s looking forthat bird. It’s a pretty bird.”

Lt. Steve Davis and firefighters Jared Evans and Pat Brattonsized up the scene and called their shift captain, Randy Sykes, tobring a net. When Sykes arrived with the net, rescue effortsbegan.

Evans armed himself with thick gloves and a cracker and went upon the ladder, which Bratton steadied as Davis slowly guided towardthe tree. As Evans approached the bird, he held out the cracker andthe net, hoping to scoop the bird into the net.

“I was just trying to get my hand under him,” he said. “We knewhe’d eat the crackers because they said he’d already come down outof the tree to get one and took it back up there.”

Evans said before he knew it, the bird was out of the net andheaded for freedom. But instead it simply landed on a branch of alower tree a few feet away.

Evans believes it could have been a part of a greater plan,however.

“Actually, I was trying to knock it down so Randy could getbit,” he said with a laugh.

While pulling the bird down out of the lower tree, Sykessustained a little damage from the parrot, which definitely had hisfeathers ruffled. Still, Sykes said the bird rescue was much betterthan some reptile extrication calls he’d been on.

“He got me two or three times,” said Sykes, showing a largeindentation in one of his fingers. “This isn’t the strangest thingI’ve seen as a firefighter, and I sure liked this one better thanthe snakes.”

Davis agreed he’d seen stranger situations in the fire service,but had never had to rescue such an exotic animal before.

“This isn’t the weirdest call I’ve ever seen, but it’s theweirdest animal call,” he said. “Thing is, it wasn’t even a call.We were just here to eat dinner.”

Bratton said the adventure made a quiet day a little morememorable.

“It’s definitely something different to do,” he said. “You justdon’t see a lot of parrots in trees around Brookhaven.”

Johnson said she had no idea where the parrot had come from orwho its owner was. Sykes said he will care for the bird until theowner is found.

Meanwhile, everyone involved said it made a routine day at worka little more colorful and will provide a great story to tellfamily and friends. And needless to say, there were laughs allaround.

“I’m not certified in parrot rescue,” Evans said. “Don’t wedeserve some kind of PETA award?”