Kinda ironic,” Brenda Sandberg, an employee at Bay Moorings Animal Hospital, called it. On Sunday, August 12, a lost African grey parrot was found on a gate outside of the animal hospital located in the Maximo area of St. Petersburg. The bird, named Solomon, had escaped from his Gulfport home on Tuesday, August 7.
Sandberg says her coworker Elizabeth found the bird and phoned her, not knowing what to do.
“It was back on our gate, perched. It was trying to get on her shoulder, but Elisabeth thought he was trying to dive at her,” said Sandberg. The pair decided to call in the expert.
Dr. Scot Trefz, one of the office veterinarians, came out to the hospital to help the bird to safety. Trefz fed the parrot crackers, and Solomon started talking to him.
“It just kept saying ‘I’m sorry,’” said Sandberg. The phrase “I’m sorry” was an integral part in identifying Solomon and reuniting him with his owner, Scott Roller (known as Frankie.)
Karen Nash, the office manager at Bay Moorings, posted about Solomon on both the office’s Facebook page and the Lost and Found Pets in Pinellas County Facebook group. “Our fans started sharing and within minutes I got a Facebook messenger from someone in Gulfport who saw it in Gulfport Get Rescued from both of my Facebook posts,” said Nash.
“The vet sent me a text with a picture of Solomon,” said Roller, who had a friend post about losing Solomon on multiple social media pages. An employee at Pia’s Trattoria in Gulfport, where Roller also works, helped create neon flyers and posted them around town. “‘I’m sorry’ was the only phrase I didn’t include in anything anywhere. That’s how i knew it was my bird.”
Roller says that he and Solomon often pass the phrase ‘I’m sorry’ back and forth at home. “Sometimes I move his cage a little too roughly and I say ‘I’m sorry’ and he says ‘OK.’”
Solomon had escaped from his home on Tuesday when Roller was bringing him inside from the front porch.
“I have a cage on my front porch that I put him in when I’m out there with friends,” said Roller. “He will tap on the window and be like ‘Let me out of here!’ I’ve done it hundreds of times,” he said. Unfortunately on Tuesday, the parrot was on Roller’s shoulder headed back inside when he became startled and flew away.
Roller had raised 5-year-old Solomon since he was a hatchling. Watching his bird fly away was devastating. At 9:30 a.m. Sunday, five days after his bird’s escape, Roller was on his usual doughnut and croissant sandwich run before a shift at Pia’s. As he drove, he called for his lost pet.
“So I’m driving and trying to let go and let the universe take care of it. So I say ‘I’ll call for him one more time and then it’s done; it’s over with,’” said Roller. He finished his weekly routine and headed to work.
At 12:05 p.m., the universe answered. That’s when Roller received word from the vet that Solomon had been found. Both owner and bird were overjoyed to see each other.
“He started crying. He was overwhelmed with all the community pulling together to help him get Solomon back,” said Nash. “For an African Grey to survive in the elements in Florida with the osprey, hawks, other perils, it was pretty lucky for Solomon. He must be one smart guy.”
Solomon is now home, safe and happy.
Said Roller of the five-day separation, “Everyone was looking and everyone was helping me and I appreciate it all so much.”