Emergency medical technicians are used to saving people’s lives. But two employees of ASI ambulance had an opportunity to save another type of life recently – that of an escaped African Grey parrot – and help reunite the bird with its owner.
EMTs Martin Reinholz and Roger Senior were driving down Old Moultrie Road in St. Augustine May 10 when they spotted the bird perched high atop a barbed wire fence. They pulled the ambulance over and went into rescue mode. Some passersby stopped as well to try and offer assistance, but when St. Augustine Humane Society Executive Director Carolyn Smith happened upon the scene, she asked the EMTs if they wanted her to drive back to the humane society to fetch a net. The men enthusiastically said yes.
While the humane society was only about 300 feet away from the scene, by the time Smith returned Reinholz and Senior already had the ambulance’s electric gurney out and were using it to reach the bird. Smith gave them the net and they were able to capture it in mid-flight as he tried to flee.
“I couldn’t believe they caught him in mid-flight,” said Smith, who noted that the bird was very lucky because he was found near a big, open field where hawks and ospreys often hunt.
The rescue team decided to bring the bird to a parrot enthusiast and friend of Senior, who kept it overnight while the Humane Society posted a “lost parrot” announcement on its Facebook page.
The post was shared on several other pages, where it was eventually spotted by an acquaintance of St. Augustine resident Nadia Rubin, who had been searching for her 10-year-old parrot, Max, ever since he flew the coop May 9.
Rubin called the contact number listed and left a message saying that she would tell them anything they wanted to know about Max – what he says, what he does – to prove that she was his owner. It only took three questions before they were convinced that she was the owner, according to Rubin.
Max was brought to her house in a box. “As soon as he saw me, he tried to come out of the box,” Rubin said.
Smith, who was there for the reunion, said there was no doubt that Max indeed belonged to Rubin.
“Max hates strangers – he will bite people, he squawks at them, he won’t go to people,” Smith said. “As soon as she walked up to him, he reached his little claw out and grabbed her hand and started talking to her.”
Rubin, who hoped and prayed that Max would be found, is extremely grateful to the good Samaritans who stopped to rescue him.
“I’m really glad,” she said, “that they had all that patience to stay there and try to catch Max.”