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    I was at my lacrosse practice with my bird Fillepe in her much-hated travel cage. It was a hot summer day, in Georgia, the sun beating down on us. She was at my practice because she loves to visit her little conure boyfriend Capone, and we were bringing her there afterwards, where she would be boarded for 2 weeks while we went to New York and Myrtle Beach tomorrow. Fillepe- our bird was trying to bathe in her little bowl but she had no water. We went to put water in her cage and the whole top popped off! She instantly saw her chances and flew to the nearest tree, somewhat high, somewhat low so we didn’t worry too much. We had her wings clipped not to long ago, but she flew like a wild bird, like she’s been doing it all her life. I continued my lesson, but we kept a close eye on her. After I finished we called over Capone and his family and we tried to get her down with a long, duster thing- she heard Capone calling to her and seemed to be trying to reach us. She leaped and flew towards us, but looped back around into the jungle-like, fairly over-grown woods. We were devastated. Capone and his family left and I went with them to get my mind off things, but my mom stayed for three more hours calling into forest for Fillepe. My mom came back and picked me up, with my neighbor Luca in the car too, we went to drop off my Bearded Dragon, Rusty at his boarding location and we would go back to the field to call for her after. When we returned, Angela- Capone’s “mom” and her parents were sitting where she was last-seen. Luca and I ran over and we grew excited as we heard her responding to our desperate calls. We ran over to my mom in excitement. But the adults looked doubtful. Knowing the area, I ran down into the woods and called to her, and she responded immediately, peering through the leaves, we eventually saw a red tail and then the rest of her body. The rest of Capone’s family came and we all stared up into the tall, looming tree. Even a security guard put his efforts in. Shaking trees, climbing trees, hauling trees, throwing rocks, calling like birds, downloading bird sounds, etc. All of sudden, she took off and repeated the same she did earlier, we scrambled up the hill- only to see she was on a different branch, but with a perfect view of her and us. We repeated the process, now we cut, bug-bitten, and bloodied. She just stared at us with a blank expression. We couldn’t help noticing how beautiful and exotic she looked on the thick branch. Capone’s “dad”, left with the kids so we were left with- Me, my mom, my dad, Luca, Angela, and Angela’s parents. My dad and the security guard began to set off fire-crackers to scare her, but she was unfazed by the loud noise and smoke. My dad got an idea and told me to stand there, in Fillepe’s view and call her with my arm out while the others walked away. Within 2 minutes she tilted her body to flying position and flew straight towards me, realizing she might crash, she looped around and flew to another patch of high trees. We exactly spot where she was, but we her response to my calls. We waited there too, calling and repeating the process yet again. She took off and looped right over the road. My heart skipped a few beats, but she landed back to the same patch of trees. It was dusk by now and we were getting frustrated and angry. Capone’s family had returned and we just waited her out again, for we knew she would take off. We were correct, after about 20 minutes she flew- and looped, what a surprise. But this time, she went FAR back- into the tallest tree in the town at the top of it. Capone’s family and my mom stayed back at the field while Joey, Luca, my dad, and I rushed to the car and hopped in. Eager to get to our neighborhood that was right next to the woods. We pulled in and hopped back out, running to Luca’s house and calling her from his deck. Twice we thought we heard her respond to us, but it was faint- and where we saw her land wasn’t very close to where we were calling from. So, we went to the neighbor’s house where the tree Fillepe was in was. It was pitch black now and we were yelling to my mom and Capone’s family from the opposite sides. We didn’t hear Fillepe’s response. It started to rain, hard. Heartbroken, we all went home. We came back outside and talked to our other neighbors and we went down to the trees with a flashlight, but with no luck. We cleaned up and got ready to sleep. As I lay in bed my dad told me that Fillepe was probably having the time of her life, I finally just accepted it, we probably wouldn’t see her again. I looked at her empty cage and my eyes swam with tears. My sleep was strained and full of Fillepe. We switched our flight to NY to a later time so we could look for her a bit before we left. We ate breakfast and called to her, but she didn’t respond. We got in the car and drove to the airport, we were stressed and devastated. I was reading while we were in line for the bag-check when my mom asked me what pet I wanted. I sighed. I guess we had completely given up now. I checked the time we were going to be late if we didn’t hurry. After we got off the subway we raced down the hallway as the speaker above called out “Carrie and Ashlyn Pendergast! Nobody could ever just get my name right! All of a sudden, my phone rang I snatched it out of my carry-on bag and looked at the name- Melody Wallman, my Grandma. Why was she calling me? I answered and she said “Luca saw your bird! In the backyard! You need to tell Ava to bring Capone over now!” I was so excited, I told my mom and she kept trying to ask me questions when I was trying to talk. Quickly, I texted Ava and made sure that she got the message, and fast. How had Fillepe found her way back? It was a miracle. The whole flight we were wondering how they would get her down. They had said she was down her loop thing, but not going away. When we got to out next stop, (It wasn’t a direct flight) we called and my dad told us what was happening. She was in the tree next to our deck clearly trying to get down, he sent me a picture. Finally the text message came, ‘We got her!’ We squealed and the waiter just laughed. My mom explained what had happened. I got three different calls all telling the wonderful news. She flew down to her mock-branch and Angela grabbed her right out of the air. She was eating like a pig and drinking thirstily. We are on our way to NY right now and I can’t wait to get home and see my little girl! Thanks for your help everyone!!!

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