Lost and Found Pets
By Lane Phalen
TAILS Humane Society
Jammers, a ten year-old cockatiel belonging to Anne Ostdick of Genoa, wasn't used to being locked in her cage. Jammers preferred perching on the top and flying to and fro as she wished. Anne even took Jammers outside to fly around and Jammers always returned to Anne.
When Anne's house was being sided three years ago, workers opened a window on the second story. Jammers found her way from the first floor to the open window and flew out. Anne searched for weeks for her beloved bird to no avail. She kept Jammers cage set-up for three months hoping the bird would return.
"Finally, I took the cage down because I couldn't stand to see it any more," Anne said.
Anne always wondered what happened, guessing that Jammers caught a tail wind and lost her bearings. She hoped the bird was well, not thinking about the awful things that could have happened.
Three years passed when Anne heard about TAILS Humane Society's website. TAILS was in the news because of their rescue of 300 hoarded dogs, cats, and birds. Curious, she clicked onto the website. While browsing the site, she saw the link for Lost & Found Pets and "clicked on it as a whim," she said.
The first posting was about a cockatiel that was found but the posting said that the bird was male. Jammers was female. The posting listed an email address and though Anne doubted the bird could be her female Jammers, she thought she had nothing to lose and she contacted the person who had found the bird.
That person was sixteen year-old Hannah Truckenbrod of DeKalb, who, with her sister, Amanda, owned a flock of six different types of birds. Two years earlier when they were mourning the death of one of their birds, they saw an ad in the newspaper about a gray cockatiel that was being given away. The man from Sycamore had found a cockatiel flying around outside two years earlier but hadn't attempted to find the owner. He could no longer keep the bird and was looking for a good home. He worked in a warehouse and allowed the bird to fly inside whenever it wanted.
"The bird was very healthy and full of energy," Hannah said.
The sisters took the cockatiel and named the bird Mr. T in honor of a wrestler. He fit in well with the birds the family kept. A year later after receiving the cockatiel, Hannah's younger brother was reading about the hoarding situation on the TAILS website and saw the section about Lost and Found Pets.
Hannah said, "I knew what I would feel like if I lost one of my birds so my sister and I decided to place a posting on the TAILS website. I thought it would be neat to find who lost her even though it would be kind of hard giving her up." Hannah listed her email address and asked the owner to send a description of the bird they lost.
"A month later," Hannah said, "I received an email from Anne and she described the cockatiel perfectly."
A few emails went back and forth between Anne and Hannah about the cockatiel. In the first, Anne told Hannah how to determine the sex of the bird and Hannah discovered that Mr. T was actually a female.
"I wasn't truly convinced it was Jammers," said Anne. But when she went to Hannah's house she said, "As soon as I saw her, I knew it was her."
Jammers was sitting on the top of the cage and Anne asked Hannah why she wasn't locked in her cage. Hannah replied that the bird "always goes crazy when she's locked in her cage. It was really weird."
"Any bird lover knows that you should clip a bird's wings so it can't fly," Anne said, "but I had a German Shepherd pup and I didn't clip Jammer's wings so she could always get away from the pup. Her cage was always open and she was always on top of it."
Anne said that Jammers looked at her and played with her. Anne said, "I used to walk into the room, say her name and she would start tweeting at me. She didn't do that when I first saw her but Hannah said she tweets when she came into the room."
Both Anne and Hannah agreed that Jammers was a "stand-offish bird." Anne began petting Jammer's head and Hannah told her that the bird didn't like that. When Jammers did enjoy Anne's strokes, Hannah exclaimed, "My God, that has got to be your bird. She never let me do that."
Anne was convinced that the cockatiel was, in fact, her Jammers. "With the new puppy that we (Anne and her husband) have, I couldn't imagine introducing a bird into that situation."
Anne and her husband talked about taking Jammers back or allowing Hannah to keep her. Anne said, "I knew she was well-cared for and loved where she was."
"Hannah is a lot like me in her care of Jammers," Anne continued. "There were certain things I wanted to make sure she was doing. Bird food is like junk food to a bird so I wanted to make sure she was getting a balanced diet and she was."
"The fact that she didn't have to be in her cage all the time was important to me,"
Hannah was able to keep Jammers. She quit calling the cockatiel Mr. T and switched to the bird's original name.
"I told her to keep in touch with me," said Anne, "and if she was ever going to give Jammers away, I wanted to know."
After three years, Anne was relieved to know what had happened to her beloved cockatiel and Hannah and Amanda were able to keep the bird they loved. All questions had been answered through the coincidence of two people browsing TAILS Humane Society's website.