Zoo Star Attraction Recaptured

Macaw escapes for two days

By Eric S. Page
|  Monday, Aug 10, 2009  |  Updated 3:26 PM PDT
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Zoo Star Attraction Recaptured

Mo and Curly in happier times -- we'll take their trainer's word that that's Curly on the right.

A star performing macaw at the San Diego Zoo flew off Saturday but was recovered days later after a remarkable coincidence.

Curly is one of several macaws starring in the Take Flight show at the zoo. Both he and his sister Mo were spooked for some reason during Saturday's 8:30 p.m. show and took flight. Mo landed nearby and was recovered.

Curly flew the coop, though, and wasn't spotted until Sunday afternoon by a man in Mission Hills, about 3.5 miles away from the zoo. Steve Martin, Curly's trainer, said the man was walking in Pioneer Park on Washington Place with -- small-world time -- his macaw on his shoulder when Curly spotted his fellow bird and dropped down nearby. The man was able to capture Curly and brought him home. Eventually, zoo officials were contacted and Martin went out and got Curly on Monday at about 10:30 a.m.

The news is good for Martin but not perfect: Because of his contact with the Mission Hills macaw, Curly will be quarantined at the zoo -- with Mo for company -- before being returned to his friend in Take Flight.

The man who found Curly refused a reward but will take part next year in a training workshop for free being held at the zoo.

Curly has escaped before -- he was frightened off by the Goodyear blimp in 2007 while performing in Pittsburgh and took two days to find as well.

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