FLOSSMOOR, Ill. (CBS) — Students and staff at Homewood-Flossmoor High School rolled out the welcome mat Tuesday for a beloved parrot that got loose.
Blue the macaw has been part of the family at Homewood-Flossmoor for years. After he got out, word of mouth and a report from CBS 2’s Marybel González this past Friday night helped bring him back.
Gonzalez returned to school and met Blue on Tuesday.
The mood in the classroom for the school’s ZooBot zoology and botany program was much different Tuesday than it was last week when we reported on the search for blue. Students on Tuesday were moved to tears – happy tears – as they were reunited with their colorful friend.
“I love him so much,” said Homewood-Flossmoor senior Crystal Quick. “I’m getting emotional because I missed him, and I was scared that he was not going to come back.”
“It was really weird, awkward,” said Homewood-Flossmoor student Tairia Williams, “because we’re used to having Blue around making noises.”
The vibrant macaw disappeared for five days after he flew away from student Kailyn Kirkman’s home. He was first reported missing a week ago Sunday.
“I stayed outside until midnight looking for him,” Kirkman said. “I even got sick because I was out for so long.”
Kirkman had him over that weekend as part of the ZooBot program. It had been too long since his wings were clipped so that he would not fly away.
“We did put up flyers, posted on Facebook, my dad posted on Facebook,” Kirkman said.
CBS 2 also got involved after learning that Blue was missing. We aired a point on Friday in which Homewood-Flossmoor High School principal Dr. Clinton Alexander talked about the tireless search for Blue.
The ZooBot program’s teacher, Chris Stoglic, said a woman recognized Blue from our story – and turned him in to the police station later Friday night.
“Seems in great health, eating up a storm, he’s drinking a lot – and super-friendly and active like he has been,” Stoglic said. “I’m just thankful that there’s good people out there.”
The drop in temperatures – and Blue’s twisted bill, which requires special feeding – was worrisome to the school.
“He’s a tough cookie, so I did have a lot of faith in him,” Kirkman said.
Blue is now back to playing with the students and teaching them all about science – and now perhaps also another lesson on compassion.
“I knew with the help of the community, we would be able to get him back,” Kirkman said.
It is unclear how long Blue had been out since he went missing, or where he was found. The students are just happy he’s back home.