Birds of a feather were brought back together in Peoria Tuesday afternoon.
Olive, a pet pigeon, flew the coop from its home in north Phoenix on Nov. 7, its owners say. It spent several days on its own until it was found in Glendale in its rhinestone-studded vest and turned in to Fallen Feathers rescue center in Peoria on Nov. 11.
A Fallen Feathers Facebook post and a Reddit thread aimed to help return the bedazzled bird to its nest — the owner had about a month until Olive would be put up for adoption.
Luckily, the reunion wasn’t a wild goose chase: On Tuesday, owners Marlette Fernando and her husband, Norman, recovered their bedazzled companion after one of Marlette’s friends notified her through Instagram of Olive’s whereabouts.
Yes, Olive also has an Instagram account.
With Olive nestling into her shirt, Marlette said it’s been a long couple of weeks without a member of the family around.
“I love this bird, and I’m so happy to have her back home,” Marlette said. “I never thought I’d see her again.”
Norman said receiving the good news brought Marlette to the ground out of pure relief.
“We thought we won the billion-dollar lottery,” he said.
They thanked Jody Kieran, director of Fallen Feathers, who tended to Olive while it was away from its nest.
“We are so ecstatic because, unfortunately, we do get birds in sometimes that we can’t find the owner for,” Kieran said. “So whenever we do, this is, like, a big celebration.”
Decided to ‘go explore’
The Fernandos said they originally didn’t think Olive would fly away. She got along with their four dogs, one cat and a snail; they’ve also taken her outside on multiple occasions.
But one day, Marlette said, Olive decided to “go explore” after Marlette took her along to drop her son off at school.
Olive flew around the house several times and just decided to leave, Marlette said.
Norman remembers the exact time she left: 7:17 p.m.
“We felt comfortable that she was never going to fly away, but we are told, now that she’s a teenager,” Norman said.
Kieran, with her decades of experience with birds, said teenage pigeons have a tendency to rebel.
Norman, a poet, knew Marlette was having a hard time without Olive around, so he wrote a poem about Olive to make the days fly by a little smoother.
A part of the family
Olive, like most pigeons, has more character than one might think.
“People need to love pigeons. We love all of our pets, but (Olive) has more character than any of them,” Norman said.
Marlette said Olive is a big part of the family — so much so that her diamond-studded vest comes from her owner’s affinity for shiny things.
“She takes my earrings, she loves the bling as much as I do … she’ll go up to my shoes and stand next to the shoes and peck at them and it’s really cute.”
The vest was originally supposed to look like a tuxedo, Marlette said. But Olive didn’t approve — thus came the iconic rhinestone vest.
“But she didn’t like the bow or the flower on the tuxedo, so she pecked them all off,” Marlette said. “And I replaced it with bling.”
A bedazzled male pigeon was picked up near 61st Avenue on Sunday. It is currently being cared for at Fallen Feathers in Peoria. The Republic
Olive isn’t Marlette’s first pigeon — she once cared for and raised one when she was 9.
Although they’ve only known each other since September, Marlette’s still not yet sure of Olive’s gender. She loves Olive — or Olivia, or Oliver — just the same, she said.
“I don’t see her as just a pigeon, she’s definitely a family member,” Marlette said. “She gets along with our dogs, our cats — we all love her.”
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