Bird rescued from Mobile Zoo by former owner - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Bird rescued from Mobile Zoo by former owner

Michelle Canterbury rescues Tootie, a Hahns Macaw, a bird she donated to the Mobile Zoo 11 years ago. Source: Lee Peck, FOX 10 News Michelle Canterbury rescues Tootie, a Hahns Macaw, a bird she donated to the Mobile Zoo 11 years ago. Source: Lee Peck, FOX 10 News

When the Mobile Zoo in Wilmer was forced to shut down earlier this year, a lot of people wondered what would happen to all of the animals. But there was never any question about where one of the zoo's birds was going. 

Michelle Canterbury donated the Hahns Macaw to the zoo 11 years ago and acted quickly to get it back. 

"I acquired Tootie back in 2001. It was just me and my daughter at the time... And it took about six months for him to get used to me.. And then we were inseparable until I had my son Tyler," explained Michelle. 

Tootie didn't take well to the baby, so Michelle made the decision to give the bird to the Mobile Zoo, where he lived for 11 years until it the U.S. Department of Agriculture shut it down in November. 

Hearing the news, Michelle immediately inquired on how to get Tootie back. 

"I hadn't seen him since I gave him to the zoo because it was too hard for me. But I wanted to see if he was okay... We were all interested if he would remember me... And it was just awesome," recalled Michelle. "He remembered me and it was like we hadn't been separated. Everyone was surprised that he came to me and let me handle him because he apparently didn't like to be handled at the zoo."

Michelle is also surprised that Tootie remembers all of the stuff she taught him to say including:

"I love you too."

"I'm a pretty bird, I'm a sweet bird!"

"Be an eagle bird!"

"Come over here."


"Rock n Roll"

"It's interesting to see what he remembers. And every now and then he'll say something -- and I'm l'm like oh yeah -- he says that too," said Michelle. 

As for that little boy he didn't like, Tootie and Tyler are now friends -- they even share a room.

"As soon as he hears you getting up in the morning... He starts saying good morning to you. He'll get louder and louder," said Tyler Smith, Michelle's son. 

Tootie came home with them back in February. Since then the family has fallen into a little routine. 

"He always likes to be on my shoulder and he'll preen you. It feels weird but it kind of feels good," said Johnathan Canterbury, Michelle's stepson. 

So good - that two weeks ago they rescued a African Gray named "Piper," which was also at the Mobile Zoo.  

"The first time Piper and I met each other she kind of fell in love with me. She's really my bird. I think she felt like she was supposed to be here from the beginning because it's like she's been here forever now," said Randall Canterbury, Michelle's husband. 

While Piper isn't as vocal as tootie, that's okay because the two rescue birds join Kiwi -- a conure parrot.  

Michelle says there's never a dull moment and that's just the way she likes it. 

"I love it! It's a loud crazy household... With four kids and three birds... But we wouldn't have it any other way," said Michelle. 

The adoption process was handled through the South Alabama Cage Bird Society, which the couple are members.

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