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Readers flock to plight of cockatiel

From at least five callers and e-mailers who hope their long-lost bird is in good hands with a cruiseship agent on O’ahu, to a Kalaheo family hoping to match-make their male bird with the cruiseship stowaway who traveled in style aboard a cruise ship from Nawiliwili to Honolulu recently, The Garden Island’s little story about the little bird created a big response.

A story two weeks ago yesterday told readers about a female cockatiel who flew aboard a visiting cruise ship at Nawiliwili Harbor, making herself at home on an engineer’s shoulder.

After getting the necessary governmental and company clearances to allow the bird, dubbed “Stowaway Lilly from Nawiliwili” by crew members, to make the trans-Kauai-Channel crossing, off they went.

She is in good hands with a cruise-ship agent on O’ahu, who will be flying to Kaua’i Sunday to meet with some of those readers who think Lilly is their bird.

The agent says the bird is right at home eating human food, and has shared a dinner table on more than one occasion with the man’s family.

Back on Kaua’i, several people called and e-mailed, offering to send photos of their lost birds to the man. He has interviewed several of them over the phone.

Dr. Ihor Basko, a Wailua Homesteads veterinarian who has clinics on Kaua’i and O’ahu, thinks the bird might be his. Of course, he also thought the cockatiel he had was a male, dubbed “Milton,” until she laid some eggs, he said in an e-mail.

And, although Valentine’s Day was nearly a month ago, love is, apparently, still in the air in Kalaheo.

Trying desperately to find cockatiel love for their male bird Pongo is Cathy Egge and her twin sons, Geoffrey and Gunnar Breyfogle.

She e-mailed on behalf of Pongo, “who would hereby like to make his bid for the lady Lilly’s heart. Should an owner not come forward, he’d love to take her as a friend and mate,” Egge wrote.

“I have been Pongo’s owner for most of the four years that my children and I have lived on Kaua’i, and the story of how Pongo came to us is also very amazing,” she related.

“Pongo was about 7 when he came to live with us, which puts him at approximately 11 years of age. We got him from a lovely young woman who put an ad in The Garden Island looking for a new home for him, as she was going to leave the island for college,” wrote Egge.

“As it turns out, she got more than 50 calls, whereby five of whom she interviewed, and finally chose us as the family for Pongo. I believe she saw the ease with which we handled Pongo, and that my twin boys having autism may have influenced her decision,” she wrote.

“She dearly liked the idea that Pongo would be a pet to my special boys. He has been a wonderful friend to us,” she continued.

“While I own (and have bred) several other birds, finding a mate for Pongo on the island of Kaua’i has been altogether impossible. None of the shops are carrying cockatiels, and I’ve also watched the newspaper, hoping that perhaps a wild friend for Pongo would be found and given him,” she continued.

“Suffice it to say, sir, that Pongo is getting up in years, and has been so very loyal and loving. He really deserves to have a companion at this stage of his life.

“Will you help him? Are you able?” Egge asked.

“If it would be at all possible to make a bid for Lilly’s heart, (i.e. should her owner not, in fact, come forward), Pongo would like to send along his picture, and possibly a .wav file of his voice saying ‘Hello, pretty bird’ to her,” Egge wrote.


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