Buddy

Buddy the Surfside parrot is safely home with his family.

Our closely connected coastal communities were relieved Thursday to learn of the safe return to his family in Surfside of Buddy, a handsome blue long-tailed parrot.

He slipped away on an adventure, as parrots are sometimes wont to do, and was frightened away from his yard by pursuing wild birds. With chilly temperatures and rain in the overnight forecast, there was a real risk he could die from exposure or fall victim to predators.

Thankfully, his owner/human mom Kathy Kociemba Kettner reports, "Got up at dusk and found buddy in the highest tree about 5 blocks from here! Thanks for all the help and tips."

Kathy had put a call out on social media, which was shared by the Chinook Observer and dozens of others, for aid in his rescue.

"I called out to him and barely heard him answer back. Kept calling, climbed up a wooded hill and finally found him. It took about 20 minutes to coax him down. He flew and lit on my shoulder," she reported Thursday morning on Long Beach Peninsula Friends of Facebook.

This happy outcome reminds me of my family's unhappy but no less memorable parrot story. This is a slightly updated section of a column I wrote a dozen years ago:

About 110 years ago my grandmother’s parrot froze to death. We still mourn him.

It’s nigh-on impossible to write of a deceased parrot without recalling Monty Python’s hilarious skit about an irate pet-shop customer trying to return an “ex-parrot” to a determinedly chipper shop owner.

But our more somber story still resonates more than a century later for reasons that speak to the mortality of all sentient beings, whether fowl or sweet humanity.

Precisely where Grandma’s Uncle Lew Andrews came up with a splendid Amazonian parrot is a mystery. Won him in a saloon bet, perhaps. What is certain is that Jack was adopted into our family, even though great-grandma despaired of his incessant child-like chaos and racket.

On a clear afternoon in the high country, the kind of day when the coiling smoke of blazing cottonwood leaves lances upward into austere autumn air like an irresistible spinning wraith, Jack made good his escape.

Parrots are mischievous and boldly inquisitive creatures. You can sneak a peek into their shining eyes and glimpse thoughts sashaying around, alien to be sure, but recognizable. So it’s easy to imagine Jack high in the scraggly willows, avidly investigating every wooly-bear caterpillar, peeping through the leaves now and then at the children frantically calling his name down below as the sky fell black and cold began to ooze from the stars.

At dawn’s earliest light, when even the mountain wind freezes and falls, so did Jack. They brought him in by the fire to die, all the while murmuring to himself “Poor Jack … poor Jack … poor Jack …” until his bright little light went out.

This is our family legend of Jack — may his story live on.

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