Page last updated at 16:05 GMT, Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Lost bird's 'phone call' to owner

Smokey the cockatiel (picture:
Phoning home: Smokey's owner said he was a "talkative bird"

A missing cockatiel is now safe and sound at home after confirming its own name in a phone call to its owner.

Accountant Sue Hill, who found the bird in Wrexham, was put in touch with a possible owner by a local vet.

When she called the number she let the bird listen to the voice at the other end of the phone - at which point it chirped its own name: "Smokey."

Mrs Hill said it was the first time the bird had spoken, which convinced her she had found its owner.

Smokey the grey cockatiel went missing for two days after flying out of the door of David and Carole Edwards' home in Wrexham.

My heart went when he flew was the worst feeling in the world.
David Edwards, Smokey's owner

Mrs Hill, who lives about two miles (3.2km) away, spotted him in a tree and he flew down to perch on her shoulder.

She said: "I didn't really know what to do, so I just carried on walking. One man walked past with his dog and said, 'Why don't you get a dog like everyone else?'

"I must have looked really silly.

"I took him home because I didn't think he would survive, and it was a Sunday so there was nobody I could really contact.

"But the following morning I rang the local vet and amazingly, they had been contacted by someone that morning."

The vet passed on a telephone number for the Edwards', and Mrs Hill set out to prove they were the real owners.

Smokey the cockatiel with Sue Hill and David Edwards (picture:
Mr Edwards said he was grateful to Mrs Hill for returning Smokey

She said: "Rather than me asking Mrs Edwards to describe the bird - because they probably all look very similar - she shouted down the phone.

"It was so amusing. When she shouted 'Smokey' he just responded straight away. It was hysterical, and there was no doubt in my mind they were the owners."

After being reunited with Smokey, owner Mr Edwards, a retired taxi driver, said: "He's a one-in-a-million bird.

"My heart went when he flew away. I didn't sleep for two nights, it was the worst feeling in the world. I don't mind admitting I shed a few tears on my way to pick him up.

"I was so relieved to hear he was safe.

"He's a very talkative bird, but he never talks when you want him too, just when he feels like it."

Mr Edwards, who also owns another bird, said he looked after Smokey for his grandson Ryan.

He added: "We let them fly around the house, they're not kept in cages all the time, and that's why he managed to get out.

"We're so grateful for Sue for returning him safely to us."

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