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Inwood Guinea Hen Netted After Evading Capture for Weeks

By DNAinfo Staff on November 19, 2012 7:33am

By Cherlynn Low

Special to DNAinfo.com New York

INWOOD — A guinea hen that's run loose in Isham Park since Labor Day has been captured.

Inwood resident Nelson Garo managed to net the bird earlier this month, succeeding where other would-be captures have failed for weeks.

“There is a saying that’s very famous in my country: 'Wow, that guy is faster than a guinea hen,'"  said Garo, who was born in the Dominican Republic and used to chase the hens there.

“I was able to confirm that that is true. It is so fast.”

He and his girlfriend Elizabeth Sovinsky developed a strategy to catch the bird after several failed attempts.

“I noticed that when it was on the street, it’s not as fast as when it’s on the dirt," he said.

So Garo chased the bird out onto the road, where Sovinsky was waiting with a net.

“When I grabbed it, it just made this big noise,” said Garo. “It was scary.”

The couple brought the bird home, where Garo said it calmed down. The couple fed and cared for it for a few days — alongside their pet turtle, cat and two dogs.

“We had a little zoo in the house,” Garo said. “We had to make sure the cat didn’t know the guinea hen was in the bathroom.”

The bird was then handed to local environmental expert James “Birdman” Cataldi.

“They did the right thing,” said Cataldi. "From what I had heard... I was quite confident that he was pretty much going to be roadkill.”

Cataldi, a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, said the bird is most likely a grey-helmeted guinea hen that escaped from one of the live poultry market in the neighborhood.

“It was more afraid of humans than any bird I had ever seen,” said Cataldi, adding that the bird was underweight and dehydrated when he received it.

He took care of the bird for a few days, rehabilitating and feeding it in his sanctuary at the North Cove before handing it over to a private sanctuary upstate, he said.

Garo’s rescue was one of many attempts by Inwood residents, who were concerned that the bird wouldn’t be able to survive the upcoming cold weather.

After capturing the bird, Garo and his girlfriend placed signs around the park, informing concerned residents that the guinea hen had been rescued.

Inwood is no stranger to animal guests. Earlier this year, residents rallied together to save Winston, a duck who had showed up in Inwood Hill Park.