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Family helps Calgary Zoo recover escaped bird

Bill Kaufmann, Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:58 AM ET

CALGARY — It took seasoned bird watchers to alert Leanne van den Brink to the fact she was harbouring a fugitive from the Calgary Zoo.

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Last Friday, the Inglewood resident said she and her family members heard some unusual bird songs in their yard, but thought little of it.

“We live next to the bird sanctuary,” she said.

But when the van den Brinks noticed people snapping pictures of an unusually beautiful, blue-gold hued bird in their yard, they figured something was amiss.

An Internet search for images fitting their winged visitor’s description showed it to be a golden breasted starling, said ven den Brink.

“We discovered he’s from Africa, and that he was definitely out of place,” she said.

“We noticed it was very friendly and was very used to people.”

When they finally managed to contact the nearby Calgary Zoo, a curator delivered a trap, some mealworm bait and directions on how to recapture a bird that had somehow escaped from the TransAlta Rainforest Aviary.

It’s possible the starling could have navigated past the aviary’s plastic strip exit and a solid door inadvertently held open by a customer, said zoo spokeswoman Trish Exton-Parder.

“It’s not a usual thing that would happen,” she said.

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