El Cajon

Exotic-Bird Trainer Reunited With Missing Cockatoo

Terry Rusheen performs with his macaws and cockatoos around San Diego County

NBC Universal, Inc.

Exotic-bird trainer Terry Rusheen told NBC 7 last week that his cockatoo Fami disappeared while resting in a tree in El Cajon. This week, though, Rusheen got the bird back.

On Dec. 29, Rusheen claimed a trio of thieves working in concert schemed to steal his prized white cockatoo.

Rusheen said at the time that his birds never fly away. He told NBC 7 that he found several recordings on Dec. 15 from local businesses that show Fami jumping down to a woman, who then handed the bird off to a man on a bike. Rusheen also said another camera recorded the man riding away with the white cockatoo on his shoulder. A third camera recorded the bicyclist handing the bird to a driver in an SUV, who drove away, Rusheen said.

Terry Rusheen, who performs with his macaws and cockatoos around San Diego County, says a trio of crooks made off with one of his prized birds, reports NBC 7's Joe Little.

Rusheen regularly lets his "family" exercise and rest in the trees in places like El Cajon and Pacific Beach. He also performs with them in front of small groups and at schools.

This week, though, a woman contacted Rusheen after seeing the story NBC 7 aired. She said she scooped up the bird in downtown El Cajon when she saw it on the side of the road.

Rusheen admitted he turned his back for a few seconds when Fami disappeared.

"It’s my fault," Rusheen said last week. "It’s nobody else’s fault except my own. I should be in attention."

“' Fami' is short for ‘family,’ which is what she is,” Rusheen told NBC 7 last week.

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