Farmington family searching for lost cockatiel

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FARMINGTON — On Aug. 2nd, Lorna and Michael Smilek of 115 Perham St., Farmington, lost their pet cockatiel, Tulip.

This unfortunate event occurred when some friends dropped by to borrow jumper cables. Lorna had Tulip sitting quietly on her hat which she uses to prevent any bird droppings from landing on her hair. She walked out the door to get the jumper cable, forgetting Tulip was on her head. Tulip got startled and flew across the street above their neighbors’s house. Lorna and her parents who live nearby searched the neighborhood for an hour with no sight of her pet.

Lorna and Michael got Tulip six years ago from a pet store that was located in the old Mt. Blue Shopping Center. The pet store owner said that Tulip was hand raised and that cockatiels are indigenous to Australia. Tulip was just four months old and eager to learn to mimic their speech. To Lorna and Michael’s delight, Tulip was able to learn how to say her name, “Goodnight Tulip, “”How ya doin’, Baby?, “If you want to be a Tulip, just be a Tulip” .

Tulip is more than just a pet to the Smilek’s: she’s part of their family. She loves to jump on the floor and toss papers around while speaking English gibberish. One of her endearing features is she gets on Lorna’s chest and turns her head over for Lorna to scratch her chin. She’ll close her eyes while Lorna pets her.

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Believe it or not, Tulip is not afraid of cats. The Smileks have three cats which they adopted from the local animal shelter. They are older cats picked out because they are less likely to hunt birds, and, indeed, they mostly ignore Tulip’s presence. However, one incident did occur when Tulip bit one eat’s tail and the cat immediately took a swipe at her. Luckily, he missed her. But, the Smilek’s are afraid that out in the wild predators might be able to harm her as she is so trusting.

Michael used to clip her wings. But, one time while doing so he went too far up on a vein and Tulip began to bleed heavily. Immediately, knocking over a chair, Michael rushed downstairs to get some cornstarch which he applied to stop the bleeding. Since then, Tulip will not allow Michael to hold her so her wings are now full grown allowing her to fly. Lorna is the only person who Tulip allows to hold and pet her. But, she still climbs all over Michael and loves to watch TV on his shoulder.

The Smilek’s are afraid she may be starving as she has never had to forage for food. She has also never been exposed to elements like the hail storm and pouring rain that recently occurred. Tulip is primarily grey with some white on her wings. She has a yellow face with bright orange dots on her cheeks. She has a chartreuse crest which stands up when she is startled or curious.

If you spot her, please call the Smileks at 860-2578, or Lorna’s parents at 778-3702. If no one answers, please leave a message. They would be forever grateful and relieved.

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