Bergamot Alley Budgie Seeks His Home

Healdsburg wineries, wine bar and wine bar patrons are the bird's rescuers.


Owners of 9-month-old had no idea that, in addition to opening a hip watering hole for the younger adult Healdsburg social set, that they would also serve as a shelter for a rescued parakeet.

"We're just trying to find the owners," said Bergamot Alley co-owner Sarah Johnson, who is housing the as-yet unnamed parakeet in her Healdsburg home that she shares with co-owner and husband Kevin Wardell and their son, Orion, 11.

"We don't think he's injured," Johnson said of the budgie. "We know he can fly."

Johnson and Wardell have posted a stock photo of a parakeet/budgie on their Facebook page in hopes that the owner of a missing bird will come forward and provide the ID.

They said they don't want to post a real photo of the budgie for fear that someone other than the owners would claim it.

"We know there's people who would steal these birds," Johnson said. "We're waiting a week to see if someone claims him before we give him a name."

Johnson said she also contacted and an avian rescue group to let them know about the bird in case the owners called in to seek information on its whereabouts.

Sandi McCubbin, a friend of Johnson and Wardell's, said her friends Don Dixon and Victoria Baum from Sebastopol found the bird last Sunday, Sept. 9, walking along Matheson Street in front of

Dixon, Baum, McCubbin and McCubbin's friend Lewis Bangham rescued him and took him to Bergamot Alley in a box provided by Williamson Wines.

A friend gave Johnson and Wardell a bird cage and they picked up food and toys at a pet shop.

"It was a group effort," McCubbin said later in an email. "So glad he is doing well.  Spunky little guy.  Fingers crossed you (Johnson and Wardell) can keep him!"

Baum also wrote to Johnson and Wardell to express her appreciation.

"Have been meaning to write to say thank you so much for taking in the orphaned parakeet," Baum said.

"It was extremely kind of you, and we are immensely grateful," Baum said. "When we encountered him on the sidewalk in front of Williamson Wines, we just stood around for awhile, wondering what to do.

"Over the years, I've encountered quite a few animals who needed help, and because of the unexpected nature of the circumstances, there was never any master plan in place," she said. "So it has always seemed to be an act of faith, with a narrative that goes something like:  'I must remove you from this situation, which would probably end badly if nothing was done, and I'll figure out the details later.'"

Baum said she took the following actions:

"It was apparent from watching him that I would not be able to just pick him up from the sidewalk, so I borrowed the very light sweater that was being worn by my friend Sandi, got behind the parakeet, and gently threw it over him," she said. "This allowed me to pick him up without any damage to his feathers.

"He was probably terrified, and so began chewing on my finger (Ow!)," she said. "He had to be sequestered in my purse for a few moments while the nice folks at Williamson Wines retrieved a wine box to use as a temporary carrier.

"How lucky we were to have been on our way to Bergamot Alley, and its generous, animal-loving proprietors," Baum added. "Sometimes fate works in mysterious ways."

If any missing bird owners want to inquire about the bird, send a note to Johnson and Wardell on their Facebook page, or post a comment on this article on the space below.

As Baum told Johnson and Wardell:

 "A friend of mine in Hawaii recently sent an anonymous quote which seems to sum up the situation fairly well:   'Rescuing one animal will not change the world, but for that animal, their world is changed forever.'


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