A budgie gone wild is now safe and sound indoors after spending a few cold months in the company of a flock of sparrows.
The little bird called MacGyvor was lost and left to fend for itself, but has now found himself with a long list of possible owners. On Monday, Avian Welfare Canada said between 12 and 15 people have already come forward claiming to have lost the budgie.
When Sylvia Cassie saw a large flock of sparrows alight on her bird feeder one late November afternoon, it was clear from the get-go that one of those birds was not like the others. The budgie stuck out like a sore thumb amidst the grey and brown feathers with his bright green, yellow and blue plumage.
“In the middle of this flock was this little jewel, it was quite shocking to see it!” Cassie said.
With temperatures below freezing, Cassie and her husband Norm Cassie were worried the bird wouldn’t make it to December. They got in contact with Melanie Shura, president of Avian Welfare Canada, who helped them lay a trap.
To entice the bird, they left a special cage loaded with a heat lamp, food and water out near the Cassies’ bird feeder. When he moved on to a neighbour’s birdfeeder, the cage moved with him. After a couple of different tries, he was safely captured at a nearby home on New Year’s Day.
“It was just fantastic . . . what a way to start the year,” Cassie said.
Shura said the bird must have been living in the wild for close to 11 weeks, and only managed to survive by sticking close to his sparrow brethren. Shura is now taking care of the budgie and monitoring his health.
In his time away, MacGyvor has become chattier; Shura said he even “speaks sparrow” after living with a group of them.
Now that the budgie is back, many people have come forward claiming to be MacGyvor’s owner.
“I have had six people contact me and I had a phone call from the humane society and from other agencies as well that have handfuls of people who claim this is their budgie,” said Shura.
“This is going to be the challenge…to try and figure out who his original owner was.”
The Winnipeg Humane Society said last year it received four reports of missing birds that were all reunited with their owners.
– With files from The Canadian Press