Attempted parrot rescue takes Glencoe Police work to new heights
Nelly the parrot, seen here when she was still with her family.| Mason Mandell photo
Updated: August 13, 2012 7:13AM
GLENCOE — Lt. Rich Weiner of the Glencoe Public Safety Department is always ready to pull out the stops for a missing 8-year-old.
Especially if the wayward youth is a parrot.
Weiner — who moonlights as the operator of a parrot shelter — called in the reinforcements again Sunday when Nelly the Green-cheeked Conure — a mini-parrot belonging to a Glencoe family — was up a tree.
In an era when many police and fire departments pretty much ignore treed cats and lost dogs, Wiener and Glencoe are anomalies.
“First, I started with a 28-foot extension ladder. That didn’t work — I only got about 35 feet up in the tree,” he said Monday morning.
“Then I went and got the cherry picker, but by the time we got it set up, we couldn’t find her, even using all the tricks.”
As of this writing, Nelly is still at large, eluding the Mandell family, of the 200 block of Mortimer Road.
“The house is very quiet without her,” said Karen Mandell, whose bird flew the coop on Saturday afternoon. “It feels empty.”
Everybody misses the parakeet-size parrot, even Moose the 18-pound Yorkshire terrier/poodle, who once would have preferred to sup on the bird, but now comports itself as a furry friend of the feathered.
Nelly is named for Nelly Furtado, author of the 2000 single, “I’m like a Bird.” Nelly the bird does not, however, sing, or even talk, about being a bird or about anything else.
She does a lot of chirping, especially in the morning, Mandell said.
Mandell says her son, Mason, 14, is guilt-ridden, because he opened the sliding door that Nelly left through. She doesn’t blame him, though, and guesses that Nelly picked that moment to bolt after being spooked by the screech the door made.
It’s Mandell’s daughter Olivia, 16, who has the higher voice that Nelly responds to most. She’s been up on the roof trying to talk the bird down, but Nelly was still at large as of Monday afternoon.
Weiner wouldn’t expect Nelly to survive in the suburban wild.
“Usually, they’re not used to being outside; they get scared and freeze there, ‘til a predator gets them.”
Also, Nelly is used to having her food handed to her. Aside from birdseed, she particularly likes dried almonds, apples and corn, but is unlikely to find any of that in neighborhood trees.
If she’s lucky, she’ll come across some bugs, but she may not be skilled enough to nab them, after spending all her days in suburban splendor.
The Mandells aren’t trying to lure her home with food, however. A wading pool of water works better, especially in the kind of weather we’ve been having lately, Weiner said.
“Going on the second day, she’s going to be getting thirsty,” said Weiner, who founded A Refuge for Saving the Wildlife in unincorporated Northbrook in 1999.
Most municipalities won’t allow such rescue attempts, but Glencoe does.
“It goes with the level of service we like to provide,” Weiner said. “It’s not like New York or Chicago, where if you take a piece of equipment out of service, it could be life-threatening.
“Glencoe is small enough that you can get anywhere” from anywhere, relatively quickly. “When you have to go, you have to go. If you have to, you leave the ground ladder there, and go.”
Weiner said that not everybody on the department is so quick to climb up ladders to go after animals, however. “It’s got to be an animal person that does it,” he said. “They’ve got to know how to handle it, or they’re gonna get hurt.”
Even if you do know, it can happen. He said once, while rescuing a parrot that he himself had adopted out, the bird’s powerful beak took a solid chunk out of one of his hands.
He himself waits a bit before he climbs a tree after a cat.
“Generally when a cat goes up a tree, it comes down a tree,” he said.
Most of Nelly’s feathers are green, with a grayish head, and what appear to be green smudges of blush applied to her cheeks. She has a red-and-yellow belly and a long, red tail.
See her? Call the Mandells at (847) 835-5353. They’ll get Olivia over right away.
If that doesn’t work, Weiner may come with an aerial ladder.