An East Boston family is hoping a holiday miracle can help bring home their beloved missing parrot, a pet with a fondness for toothbrushes and colorful pens and a breathing condition that can make her sleepy.
There is an empty cage propped up in the corner of the Eugenio family’s Maverick Square parking lot, and they hope somehow the one-and-a-half-year-old Lulu, an Orange-Winged Amazon, finds her way back inside.
“We’ve been doing everything we can,” said Luana Eugenio, a 20-year-old dental assistant who’s been leading an effort to track Lulu down since the pet suddenly flew away last Sunday.
This week, Eugenio posted wanted fliers around Eastie and posted online promising a $500 reward for the bird’s safe return. On a community Facebook page, many pledged to help out.
She’s even enlisted the help of a website called 911 Parrot Alert, which gives bird-owners advice for tracking the ones who fly away, and taps a network of area bird-lovers to scan nearby trees.
Finding Lulu has quickly become a neighborhood effort, she said.
“We’ve had neighbors actually come to our door who’ve never seen us before,” she said. “They’ll knock on our door and say, ‘Hey, we’re going to help.’”
Eugenio bought Lulu last year as a birthday gift for her mom, 45-year-old Betsy Eugenio, a Brazil native who grew up raising birds back home.
It didn’t take long for the family to fall in love with the bird and all her quirks – her love of jingling keys and her tendency to snatch pens and toothbrushes, or to sit on strangers’ shoulders – the younger Eugenio said.
Losing Lulu has been hard.
“My mom is devastated,” she said. “She is intending to spend Christmas just looking for the parrot. It’s really tough on her.”
This isn’t the first time a Boston-area community rallied together to round up a missing bird. In Brookline this October was the infamous case of Dino, the pesky cockatoo that drove neighbors crazy for three months before rescuers nabbed him.
This time, though, there haven’t been any sightings of Lulu since she disappeared.
It’s unusual to see parrots go missing, said John Meaney, assistant commissioner for Boston’s inspectional services, which oversees an animal care unit.
“Very, very, very rare,” Meaney told Metro.
There was one case of wild parrots spotted roaming around East Boston – a photographer posted pictures of the birds perched near the Airport T stop in 2010 – but Meaney said he couldn’t recall anyone reporting seeing them. According to UniversalHub, a pair of the tropical pets made it through at least one winter.
Meaney said the city is prepared to chip in if someone tracks her down – using a net, maybe, or getting help from other first responders, depending on how willing Lulu is to be rescued.
“They’re a lot like people,” he said, referring to parrots. “Some come quietly, some come angry.”
The unusually warm weather Boston has been experiencing this month is in the tropical pet’s favor, he added.
Meanwhile, the search for Lulu continues. Eugenio said she hopes anyone who spots the pet – who is green, blue and yellow, responds to "Lulu" or "Loro" and who has a fungal infection that makes her wheezy and tired – does the right thing and gives her a call or finds her on Facebook.
“Our biggest fear is that she’s still lost,” she said. “Or that she’s with someone and they don’t want to give her back.”