Member Stories

Neighbors Head Online to Help Find Fern the Lost Toucan

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Written by Anne Dreshfield

An auto repair shop in Yorba Linda, CA, got quite the surprise one Tuesday afternoon when an exotic toucan flew into the shop and perched on a pipe in the rafters.

Little did they know, the toucan had garnered quite the following across town. Dubbed “Fern” by her owner after the neighborhood they lived in, she was spotted in trees, atop power lines, and relaxing with parrots, crows, and other flocks of birds in neighborhoods across Yorba Linda. The brightly-colored bird had been on the loose for a total of eight long months.

“She was quite striking,” recalled one neighbor, Allison. “I’m not particularly an animal person, but it was definitely a sight to see.”

“It was definitely a sight to see.”
Fern’s owner, Courtney, joined her neighborhood’s Nextdoor website in the hopes that neighbors had spotted Fern and could help get her home. Neighbors were quick to chime in with photos of Fern around the community, in trees and on light posts. However, no one had been able to catch her.

That is, until Fern flew into the auto repair shop and settled in. Employees called around to bird sanctuaries and even the local zoo to see if anyone could help. One shop, Omar’s Exotic Birds, was available. Together, they lured Fern down from the shop’s 16-foot rafters with apple slices.

With Fern safely under the care of Omar’s Exotic Birds, they began looking for her owner. Courtney, and several others, claimed that Fern belonged to them. The store exchanged more than 40 emails with Courtney alone to verify that she was, in fact, Fern’s owner.

Within a few days, Fern was happily back at home with Courtney. Neighbors cheered Fern’s safe return, though many noted they would be sad not to see her out and about in the neighborhood.

“It was awesome seeing the community come together and track Fern, well-wishing her constantly,” Courtney said. “I’m glad she got to go out and share her experiences. Everybody’s had an experience with her, and I think it’s awesome that she got to go out and meet friends. She has a lot of fans now!”


Originally reported by the Orange County Register. Photo courtesy of Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG.

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