A Rescue Effort Took Three Days To Be Able To Get An African Grey Parrot Out Of The Sewer

Imagine getting stuck in a storm drain for three days… This happened to an African Grey Parrot in Los Angeles, where the feathered friend of a family flew into the sewer, and the rescue efforts weren’t short of being comprehensive.

The owners had some trouble with their mission, as the sewers had very small openings so no one could fit in and retrieve their scared parrot, Millie. They had already tried luring the parrot with her favorite treat, but they weren’t able to get her close enough to be able to get her out of the sewer.

“It’s kind of a tough deal. There’s really nothing we can do,” said one of the firemen at the scene.

A team from Hope For Paws arrived at the scene to help with the rescue as well. In their video, the first time they put their camera in the sewer, they were able to hear Millie let out a quick squeak. In the diagram below, they estimate Millie’s location between two sewer entrances.


The rescuers tried using an air horn to scare the bird and get her to move, but it didn’t work. As the sewer entrance is too small for any person to fit, the Hope For Paws team improvised and used a remote control truck with a camera attached on top of it to be able to see and assess Millie’s condition. Even though they got relatively far from the sewer entrance, they weren’t able to see Millie because the farther they went in the sewer, the tighter the space got, so that even the RC car got stuck along the way.


Night came and the rescuers had to get more equipment to try to nudge Millie out of the sewer. The next rescue attempt involved connecting multiple drain pipes and then taping their drone to it in hopes of reaching Millie. And they were finally successful in locating little Millie!


Now that they have their eyes on Millie, the rescuers proceed with their next step, which involves using a hose to try and pump out water to get Millie to move away from it. Being a clever girl, though, Millie stayed dry by stepping up on some dirt. This is the start of another problem for the rescuers. Since parrots are known to be super smart and are problem solvers, things like passing water might seem like just a minor inconvenience for Millie.

One of the bird experts at the scene, Marlene Mc’Cohen, can be heard saying, “she’s [Millie] like, ‘what is this nonsense?’” when they see the bird avoiding the water, but not in the way they wanted.

It was already getting too late and too cold, so the rescuers called it a day. At this point, Millie had already been stuck in the sewers for more than 2 days. As they returned the next day, they acquired some help from a professional plumber. They go in and check on Millie like they did the night before, but this time with proper equipment, and they quickly find Millie’s exact location.

They basically redid the procedure from the night before but on a much larger scale. “Everything was calculated carefully, and Millie was not phased by our efforts,” they said.

With continuous monitoring, they were able to check Millie’s position as they continued pushing in water in the sewer but, again, the plan failed, as the clever parrot was able to climb up a ledge and stayed away from the water.

After 3 days without food and clean water for the parrot, the rescuers tried luring Millie with food. The rescuers placed food on a glued rat trap and they were able to place the tray right beside the bird in the sewer.


Millie’s owner kept calling out to her in order to urge the bird to hop in the tray, but Millie wouldn’t budge. When that didn’t work, the rescuers tried to push Millie out again but not with water this time; another team of volunteers planned to use their RC cars to try and push Millie out. With the RCs on the mission, they were hoping that with the more accurate control of the cars, they would be able to finally get Millie out.


“Talk to her, call the bird. Just be quiet, everybody,” urged one of the rescuers at the scene.

It seems like the RC cars finally worked their magic and were able to make Millie walk towards the sewer entrance. Sticking their head in the sewer entrance, Millie’s owner slowly encouraged the parrot to come closer, and, finally, they were able to get her out.

They immediately hugged and wrapped Millie with towels as soon as she got out of the cold sewer. Awws and cheers surround the scene and after three grueling days, Millie is united with her owner.


They shared kisses and hugs and went straight home with some of the rescuers and neighbors. Millie is quickly hydrated and given food as they continue to celebrate the reunion. One of the rescuers described it as a “beautiful rescue” and that they all used a lot of ingenuity in all 3 days of the rescue.

Watch the whole rescue of the Hope For Paws team in the video below.



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