As long, hot summer days go, Tuesday was one for the birds on Long Island.
One being an African gray parrot that firefighters rescued from a tree in Hicksville, using a 75-foot fire truck tower ladder. The second being a green and gray Quaker parrot that flew into a garage in Massapequa, landing on the startled homeowner's shoulder.
The first parrot adventure began with a 911 call to Nassau County Police and then to the Hicksville Fire Department around 10:15 a.m., fire department dispatcher Chris Mercadante said. He said the frantic homeowner explained that he takes the bird into the yard to get fresh air — and that somehow this time, "The bird took off on him."
The incident occurred on Spray Lane in Hicksville and Mercadante said he dispatched a ladder truck from Station 4.
"They just went over, put the boom up and were able to get the bird," Mercadante said. "It was up there, probably 70, 75 feet in the air. The Town of Oyster Bay sent one of their tree trucks, but it couldn't reach high enough. Our guys put up the tower ladder with the bucket and some food, they rattled it around a little and the bird just walked over and hopped onto the [firefighter's] hand. The rest was history."
In the other incident, Bobby Horvath, who runs the nonprofit organization Wildlife in Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation — WINORR — out of his home in North Massapequa, said he got a call from a startled Massapequa homeowner who said a Quaker parrot had just flown into his garage out of the blue.
"I'd rescued a hawk for them once before," Horvath said, "so that's why they knew to call me. He said, 'It just flew in and landed on my shoulder.' "
Horvath said the man arrived at his home a short time later with the parrot in a plastic closet organizer container. The bird was banded and had been well cared for, Horvath said, so it's unclear if the parrot was abandoned, or had escaped from a nearby home. "He's a real friendly bird," Horvath said. "Extremely friendly. But a lot of these birds, they become screamers, and if a bird becomes a constant screamer it's hard to live with. … So, this one, either he escaped or someone let him go."
Horvath said he contacted the local police precinct to report the find. He also plans to post a notice about the bird on Facebook, hoping the owner will come forward.
Of course, that wasn't the end of the bird stories Tuesday. Mercadante, the fire dispatcher, said he also heard a call Tuesday morning for a duck rescue from a storm drain on Montauk Highway in West Islip. "I don't know how many ducks they got out of there," he said. "But, I tell you, we get strange phone calls all the time.
"Nothing surprises me anymore."