Bank serves as

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 10, 1999

temporary bird sanctuary


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Published Aug. 10, 1999

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, or the tree as the case may be.

Jerry Miller thought his eyes might be playing tricks on him Wednesday afternoon. As he was walking his mother to her car in the parking lot of SouthTrust Bank on Highway 23, he spied what appeared to be a parakeet sitting on the limb of an accent tree in the bank parking lot.

His mother almost coaxed the bird onto her hand but instead it flew to another nearby tree.

"We could tell that the bird was almost exhausted," Miller said. "It just sat there on the limb with its head down. We broke off a branch and held it up next to the bird. Finally, it stepped onto the branch and I took the branch and bird inside."

The blue and white parakeet was obviously someone’s pet, so Miller made a cage from a copier paper box and the bank a sanctuary for the lost bird.

A box is not adequate housing for a parakeet so Clint Warren at Pet Source responded with a luxury cage and a generous supply of bird seed.

"The bird dove head first into those seed," Miller said. "It was starving. You could tell by the way it ate."

Knowing that someone somewhere was looking for the bird, Miller called The Messenger and had a "bird found" notice run in the newspaper. The notice read that a blue and white parakeet had been found and was happily housed at SouthTrust Bank.

Although the SouthTrust employees were quickly becoming fond of the little bird, everyone was hopeful that the owner would see the notice and come for their pet bird.

And it happed but not the way one would have thought.

Around noon on Friday, Miller got a call about the bird but the call was not local. It came from Idell Sanders of Enterprise. Her parakeet had flown away from home about three weeks ago. The description fit her "Johnny" to a tee.

She drove to Troy on the hope that the parakeet was her Johnny.

"When she called his name, he seemed to recognize it," Miller said.

"That’s my Johnny," Mrs. Sanders said with a smile.

"I had the bottom of the cage out to clean it and Johnny got out and flew away," Mrs. Sanders said. "I looked in the trees all around the house and the neighborhood but I couldn’t find him anywhere. I cried until I about made myself sick. I’d had Johnny for four years and he was so much company to me. Him and my female parakeet and my dog are all I’ve got."

Mrs. Sanders moved to Enterprise from Troy in 1993 and continued to take The Messenger.

"I always enjoyed The Messenger and it keeps me up on what all is going on in Troy," she said. "I picked it up and read about somebody finding a blue and white parakeet and I started crying just thinking about it might be Johnny."

It was a happy reunion between the two Friday afternoon.

"I want to thank Mr. Miller and everyone at SouthTrust and at Pet Source for taking care of him and getting him back to me. This has been a good day.’

After thanking everyone for their kindness and Mrs. Sanders boxed her bird and took him back home.

"Tonight, it will seem like home again with Johnny sitting on my shoulder," Mrs. Sanders said.