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Matilda, the cockatoo who flew the coop, back in Tracy Aviary

Published June 26, 2013 11:41 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Matilda, the red-tailed black cockatoo of Tracy Aviary, has been found.

Residents on Belaire Drive, in the foothills north of Parleys Canyon, spotted the bird in a tree Tuesday evening. Matilda had been missing since she flew away from a training exercise Saturday afternoon in Liberty Park, apparently spooked by construction noise.

The residents who found Matilda waited by the tree for aviary staff to arrive, said Helen Dishaw, Matilda's trainer. Two staffers climbed the tree, and Matilda hopped onto one of their hands; she was then passed hand to hand as the staffers climbed back down the tree.

"When they were about 8 feet off the ground, she jumped into my arms," Dishaw said. "It was like a movie. We were in tears of joy. She squawked and peeped and made little baby noises."

Matilda was hungry, thirsty and tired, but otherwise uninjured.

"She fell asleep in my hand," Dishaw said. "I think it's been a terrifying ordeal for her."

After Matilda flew the coop, she stayed overnight in the trees of Liberty Park, where she was harassed by a hawk. Over the past three days, Matilda-sightings were reported in several locations, from 900 East and 3000 South to 1000 West and 900 South. Belaire Drive (2910 East) is about 4-mile drive from the aviary.