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Tracy Aviary searches for missing show cockatoo

By Sandra Yi | Posted - Jun 23rd, 2013 @ 6:13pm

SALT LAKE CITY — A prized show bird in-training took off from Tracy Aviary Saturday, setting her trainers on her trail.

Trainers were working with the black cockatoo named Matilda Saturday when she flew off, possibly because of startling noise from construction, they said. Since she left, trainers have been working around the clock to track her.

Matilda, who is less than a year old, is a show bird and not on exhibit. She's still learning skills, like flying down from trees and coming back to trainers.

She hasn't strayed far from the aviary, they said, but her escape hasn't been without adventure. A hawk chased her while on the lam.

"Matilda was pursued a little bit. Thankfully, she's completely fine which is why the trainers have been keeping a close eye on her," said Tracy Aviary Bird Programs Manager Jenn Waterhouse.

And a close ear. She's not easily seen in the shadows and in trees, but makes a distinct call.

"Matilda of course wants to come back and so she's searching for the right people and so she's going to be making a lot of noise," Waterhouse said. "Matilda is known for being noisy. She's a little bit of a sassy girl and so she likes to make herself heard."

Neighbors of Liberty Park have been helping trainers track Matilda's path. Dina Freedman said she could hear Matilda as she sat on her porch yesterday.

"It was calling a lot. It was a good thirty minutes where every minute it was making a noise," Freedman said. "It didn't sound like any of the native birds."

Freedman had heard about the missing bird. She Googled the parrot's cry and then called the aviary, which sent trainers to her home near Liberty Park. "I heard the bird fly over the house as I went back inside and I think they lost it from there," Freedman said.

The aviary said it has a good relationship with its neighbors so it's not too concerned right now about someone taking Matilda and keeping her as a pet. They continue to ask that anyone who has seen or heard her to call the aviary.

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