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Rogers Park Urban Farmer's African Grey Parrot on the Lam Since Last Week

By Benjamin Woodard | September 27, 2013 6:32am
 The urban farmer hopes a kind soul will find and return her 15-year-old Kaya, who flew the coup.
Mo Cahill's Lost Parrot
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ROGERS PARK — A well-known urban farmer's 15-year-old African Grey Parrot named Kaya flew the coop last Friday and has been on the lam ever since.

Mo Cahill — Kaya's owner — worries her pet may not come home on her own, so she's put up fliers and offered a $100 reward to whomever might return the missing bird.

"She was supposed to keep me company on my rocking chair," said Cahill, standing in her urban farm, Moah's Ark, at 1839 W. Touhy Ave., which features watermelon, lettuce, peppers, tomatoes and other crops.

Cahill kept Kaya in a coop on the second floor of her two-flat next door to the farm, which is also home to multiple dogs and chickens and other animals. Last Friday morning, the parrot chewed a hole in a window screen, flew to a plum tree near the alley, then into a neighbor's backyard, and hasn't been seen since.

This isn't the first time Kaya escaped captivity. About seven years ago she flew off and Cahill found her later up in a tree a few blocks away, she said. Eventually, she came down.

This time, she hasn't been as lucky.

Cahill said another pet bird that she kept with Kaya died earlier this year.

"I wonder if she wasn't just lonely," said the 58-year-old.

She said Kaya's favorite food is peanuts — and she knows the word. She also knows the "Happy Birthday" song and the phrase "Tastes good. You want some?”

"If you whistle," Cahill said, "she might beep back."

Someone called from Farwell and Glenwood avenues this week to tell her he had heard a humanlike whistle just outside his window. When he went to look, no human was around.

But he didn't see Kaya either.

Cahill said she thinks the bird is still in the neighborhood. She even put Kaya's perch on her two-flat's roof with a bowl of peanuts. Squirrels had eaten them by Thursday afternoon.

"I'm scared," said Cahill, missing her companion that has a life expectancy of 50 years. "[A pet bird] reminds you that your point of view isn't the center of the universe."