Bijou is Back Home!

Hunt for lost cockatoo has a happy ending

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If you are among hundreds of people who have been worrying about the fate of Bijou, the lost cockatoo, after spotting her picture on posters pinned on trees across Fulham, the happy news is that the lucky little bird has been found safe and well.

Her delighted owner, Nicholas Browne told us the dramatic tale of the seemingly hopeless hunt for Bijou across much of West London:

" It was the end of June. We were at the beginning of a heatwave and our flat on the borders of Fulham and Chelsea was like an oven. Of course I opened the bedroom window - maybe slightly more than the usual crack, but still safe as the door to her cage was tight shut......or so I thought.

" On rising, I found with horror that Bijou, a pocket Goffin from Indonesia - a sort of cockatoo - was neither in her cage nor

the flat. From early until late my son Orlando and I walked miles, calling her name. We covered big territory: Ravenscourt, Hurlingham and South Parks to the West, Chelsea Royal Hospital, the Physic Garden to the East, Brompton Cemetry to the North and Battersea Park to the South.....and most of the garden squares and public green spaces beteen the Old Brompton Road and the Embankment.

" We climbed tower blocks with binoculars, informed the Parks Police, even consulted a clairvoyant and colour pics of Bijou were printed and laminated and pinned up.

" A week later, with hope and energy running low, I got a call from Maria, a lady living in the Fulham Road with incredible news: the Fish Bowl pet shop in Dawes Road had rung her to say that they had been visited by a couple of Polish labourers who had found a little cockatoo, which the pet shop thought belonged to her.

" It wasn't Maria's - she has a fine if rather aggressive fellow of 70 years - but having seen one of our many posters, she called me to to say that the pet shop had a mobile number for the Poles, and she had managed to get through to them on a bad connection. They had taken Bijou to a tall block in Roehampton.

" After many attempts I finally spoke to the guy who was looking after her, but..........horror of horrors, I was told Bijou had escaped from her cage again, got through an open window and vanished!

" I got hold of my son, and we drove to Roehampton. Having found the tower we set off, walking in circles radiating out from the block calling her name and pinning up posters. Then in the distance I heard Orlando calling 'Dad' and telling me he he had heard her!

" We had to wait what seemed an age before she screeched again, but when she did we were able to pinpoint the exact tree where she was hiding. It turned out to be a pretty tall, very leafy plane tree. It was getting late and dark, but my son somehow managed to get up and onto the first branch. Half way up he had to kick off his trainers as the trunk and branches, after 48 hours of heavy rain, were slippery and very dangerous to climb.

" He finally saw Bijou at the very top....shivering, cold, scared and out of reach. Breaking off a long branch he gently pushed it towards her and finally got her to grip it.....and then I heard the magic words 'Got Her!'

" With Bijou in his Tshirt, getting down, effectively with just one hand, was no easy thing, but they made it.  She had finally been rescued."

Nicholas says that Bijou is none the worse after her adventures and adds that he wants to thank everyone who offered help and support during his long search.

July 20, 2009