Toby the cockatiel safely back home after owner’s frantic search

Toby meets a new friend.

Toby the cockatiel is safely back home after turning up seven days later 12 miles away.

Toby flew off from owner Lulu Fidler’s home in Richmond on March 18.

He managed to escape after riding on the back of the family’s Border collie Winnie under a curtain which usually stops him getting into the kitchen.

Lulu said: “Before I knew it he’d then shot through the kitchen door as I was going to hang the washing — I knew he could fly but boy he was fast.

“He crossed the river at Round Howe into the trees. I followed him and could hear his flock call but couldn’t see him and was panicking.”

Lulu, who runs the Showcase Gallery in Richmond, came home and got his girlfriend Tallulah in her cage, along with three budgies, hoping he would hear them calling.

She then spent the rest of the day shouting, whistling and searching for the bird until it was too dark to see.

“The next morning at dawn I was out there again, then midday and afternoon into the evening, walking, whistling and calling him.

“His cage went outside again, full of his treats and food and stayed outside, for the duration.

“It even made it onto the shed roof along with my laptop playing cockatiel sounds all day every day, but we heard nothing.”

The search went on for several days.

Lulu said: “On the Saturday Tallulah was singing a particular song outside and we heard an answering one fly across from the woods to the Howe, but by the time I’d got there he was gone — or at least not answering me.

As well as appealing on social media for help to find Toby and contacting local vets, Lulu took leaflets with his picture and information to Meynell’s pet shop in Richmond, as well outlying villages.

After seven days of searching, Lulu’s partner Pete told her she should get some rest as she was so exhausted, but she continued to search for the missing bird.

And just as she was starting to lose hope she spotted a post on social media about a grey cockatiel on top of a caravan 12 miles away at RAF Leeming.

Toby on the caravan.

Lulu said: “The question from a lady called Geraldine said ‘does anyone know whose this bird might be?’

“I could not believe it and I got so excited. People mentioned my name and put my post with his photo up on the comments.

“I eventually managed to get a phone number to call.”

Lulu spoke to Pauline Mathews, who was working for Geraldine, and who had managed to catch Toby.

“She said she called and whistled quietly and he eventually flew down onto her, then to the trees and then back, and would not leave her alone.

“These lovely ladies decided he was so tame they needed to catch him which thankfully they did.

“A crate was turned upside down and in he went. Geraldine offered him water, he had three lids full, some bird seed that he picked through and a grape.

“By the time I had grabbed Tallulah in her cage and the dogs and found my way there he was relaxed and pottering about.

“I presented him to Tallulah and he literally stuttered ‘h-h-hello’ to her.

“I looked at Geraldine and said yes this is definitely Toby. We both had tears in our eyes.

“I put him beside her cage and he promptly went to sleep. He slept all the way home while I cried.”

Lulu said she was vert grateful to Geraldine who found him and the people who shared her leaflets and appeal on social media.

She added: “Seven days after his escape Toby was home and very pleased to be here. He peep peeped all night contentedly, slept most of the next three days and has slowly been getting back to his cheeky naughty self, talking and wolf whistling and flying the room.”

Lulu said she did however catch him occasionally gazing out of the window across the river and wondered if he was remembering his bid for freedom.

“He is now grounded I’ve told him,” she added.

Toby on Lulu’s shoulder and Tallulah up top.





  1. I can feel this story. I went through the same situation. I found it very difficult. I am happy Toby got back to his family.

  2. Spike my tile is grounded hes chatty the fact I would be gutted to lose him I’ve lost 2 tiles and spike stays in glad u got him back

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