As the clock strikes 6 p.m., Betty Jenner almost expects to hear the familiar rattling of the cage of her emotional support parrot, Koa, or the piercing sound of him squawking “Ma!” from across the room.
Jenner, who struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder, said Koa has been her “driving force in life” for the last five years. But ever since he went missing, the 69-year-old said she’s had to force herself to go on.
“People look at him and they see a bird, but they didn’t see the heart that I saw,” Jenner said. “He’s the love of my life.”
Koa, a 5-year-old Solomon Island eclectus parrot, has been missing from Jenner’s Columbia County home since Nov. 5. Jenner believes he flew out her front screen door while she was distracted with fixing her heater that day.
In the weeks since, Jenner said she’s contacted several groups including Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the local sheriff’s office and fire department who’ve helped hand out flyers and search for her parrot.
Jenner said she even tried recruiting local Boy Scouts to go door to door around the neighborhood with flyers.
“It would be easier for me to tell you what I haven’t done than it would be to tell you what I have done,” Jenner said.
This isn’t the first time Koa has gone missing. About three years ago, Jenner said he flew out of her home and was found in the woods by a neighbor the next day. She says he’s “literally a Houdini.”
Karen Parker, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Public Info Coordinator, said Jenner reached out for help in finding her parrot.
However, because FWC doesn’t typically provide animal trapping services, they put Jenner in touch with wildlife trappers in the area, who went to her home to help search for Koa.
Jenner said that eclectus parrots are a highly intelligent breed. Koa, she said, would constantly imitate sounds around him, such as the morning roosters or characters on TV.
When Koa began echoing curse words he heard on TV, Jenner revoked his television privileges and instead had him watch Curious George DVDs. She said he would listen to the show’s theme song and chant, “George! George!”
Jenner said her small camper home has been awfully quiet since Koa left.
“I need my heart back,” Jenner said.
Anyone with information about Koa’s whereabouts is encouraged to text Jenner at 386-406-1273. She also said she prefers texting to calling, as she is a bit hard of hearing. Koa can also be taken to Gateway Animal Hospital at 291 NW Main Boulevard in Lake City.