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Escaped bird returns to Tracy Aviary

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Posted at 5:05 PM, Jun 22, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-26 00:01:40-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- An escaped bird from Tracy Aviary kept staff busy after it fled Saturday, and it wasn't returned to the aviary until Tuesday night.

Tracy Aviary officials said the red tailed black cockatoo, named Matilda, was found and recovered safely Tuesday night.

Matilda flew the coop Saturday afternoon. Staff alerted the public to the bird’s disappearance, and hours later a Good Samaritan spotted her and called them.

“Just like any parent thinking about their child being missing, if you haven’t seen that kid for three hours, it feels like three years. So, that’s how we feel,” said Helen Dishaw, Tracy Aviary curator of bird training.

Dishaw said Matilda was in the middle of a training session when she flew out of the aviary and landed in a nearby tree.

“I think she was a little bit scared, and she was flying around,” Dishaw said. “We were keeping a good eye on her all day, and then at about 2:00 p.m. we kind of lost sight of her.”

A search group canvassed the neighborhoods around Liberty Park throughout Saturday afternoon, but they never found the bird. Instead, a couple blocks from Matilda’s home, someone heard her.

Hishaw said: “You’ll definitely hear her first. She’s got quite a loud squawking sound, and she’s pretty hard to see.”

The cockatoo was perched in a tree when employees from the aviary arrived to the home where she was found. Hishaw said Matilda is trained to respond to commands from staff and shouldn’t have been difficult to coax down from the tree.

The bird left that tree Sunday, and staff searched for several days and were responding to calls from people who had seen the bird.