Parrot free as a bird

Jade, who escaped captivity in June, seems in no hurry to relinquish her freedom and return to owner Ann Payie

It’s all up to Jade.

Ann Payie knows where her green Ringneck parrot is hanging out these days – Blackie Spit at Crescent Beach.

And Jade knows where Payie is, down there too, ringing a bell and shaking a bag of peanuts, as many times during the week as the busy home health support worker can manage.

But when the two will be fully reunited depends on the skittish, independent-minded bird, her pet for eight years.

Jade, 12,  who was captured – on film only – by photographer John Gordon as she happily perched on a tree in Crescent Beach, has been out in the wilds since June 2.

“That’s 11 weeks on the lam,” said Payie, who chuckles when it’s suggested Jade is enjoying her taste of freedom.

“She knows when I’m there. She sees me and calls me to let me know where she is. She’s been in a tree about 10 feet off the ground right above me – it’s a little frustrating.”

Jade literally flew out the door of Payie’s former North Surrey home while she was in the midst of moving to a condo in White Rock.

Although she had posted tons of wanted posters she had resigned herself to the idea that Jade had perished, until July 1, when she got a call from a woman who had spotted the runaway bird at Crescent Beach while walking her dog.

Payie shifted the focus of her search to South Surrey, and since then has been receiving a steady stream of phone messages and emails reporting sightings and updates.

All she needs now is for Jade to return to her cage so she can join her other parrot, a Solomon Islands Eclectus, in their condo.

“It’s like my son, Kurtis, said – miracles can happen,” Payie said. “How did she know to come down to Crescent Beach? Did she follow me?”

Complicating matters is the fact that Jade, a rescue bird who had been mistreated by a former owner, is leery of most humans. It had even taken Payie a long time to break down her reserve, she said.

“We’d reached the point that if I spoke to her a certain way she’d let me stroke her back,” she said. “If I gave her a grape and said ‘nice,’ she’d take it very gently from my fingers.”

Payie is planning to return to Blackie Spit later this week with Jade’s stand and cage, and hopes to lure her with peanuts, one of her favourite treats.

“She may just look at them and say ‘that’s where I used to live’, ” Payie acknowledged.

“She’s doing alright now because the weather’s warm and there’s plenty of food, but it’ll be different when it gets to be winter.”


Anyone who sights Jade and can give Payie a progress report is urged to email her  at anyie2000@yahoo.com