A Happy Ending: Kiwi comes home

A parrot named Kiwi was lost but survived a Reno winter.
Published: May. 26, 2023 at 7:02 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - When we first met Robert Gonzalez last October, he was walking the streets of Reno whistling a high-pitched call into the treetops, stopping occasionally to leave a poster offering a $1,000 reward for the safe turn of his lost bird.

By then she’s been missing for months. Winter was just ahead, promising no safe ending for a parrot on its own.

Gonzalez had raised Kiwi, a green-cheeked pineapple conure, from a tiny chick. The two were inseparable. He took her and another conure, Sue, everywhere perched on his shoulder. Now Sue was with him as they searched together. “I was desperate to get her back.”

There were leads, even another lost conure found scavenging fries at a Der Wienerschnitzel. Robert took the bird home and named him Pablo, but he wasn’t Kiwi.

Then winter came and stayed. “When I started to see the snowfall I knew at that point she wouldn’t survive. It’s getting really cold.”

But one morning a few weeks ago Kate Marsh and her husband, Ed, were standing outside their Sun Valley home.

“And all of a sudden I get this parrot in my hair, my messy morning hair,” she says. “She landed on my head.”

We’d like to say the little parrot recognized a kindred soul, but in truth, Kate isn’t into birds. She’s a cat lady. No matter, she and Ed recognized a lost pet.

“She was someone’s baby,” says Ed. “She was just too friendly a bird.” So they took her in.

Kate went to social media to ask for advice. A friend saw the post, called Robert and he came over to check.

“And as soon as he walked in that was it, we knew it was Kiwi,” says Kate.

After so much disappointment, Robert needed proof. “It was hard for me to accept until I actually held her in my hand. She’s let me hold her like a little popsicle, like I used to, flipped upside down and doing everything that she did before. And at that point, it started to sink in that it was her and I don’t know I’m at a loss for words.”

If she could only talk, she could tell us all where she’s been, how she survived a winter that tested the rest of us. That will have to remain her mystery. Happy endings require nothing more.

“For 10 months I thought she was gone. I wasn’t going to get her back and to have her back for me it’s a miracle.”