Patrick McInnes is growing desperate to find his best friend Pip the cockatiel. The 71-year-old was given the cockatiel as a gift from his children 15 years ago.

“We eat together, we go up to Starbucks together, yes so we did everything together,” McInnes said.

“I don’t really get company, my daughters have moved away, so it’s just me and her.”

But 10 days ago when McInnes tucked Pip in his vest and stepped out onto the balcony of his James Bay apartment, something spooked her and she took off flying.

“She was like the great escape, she flew the coop,” he said.

He usually has her on a leash he calls a “feather tether” when he takes her out in the neighbourhood but without it she’s gone, and he’s sick with worry.

“She’s got this big mouth and she’s liable to attract predators plus the yellow, like a bullseye, however you know she’s pretty feisty and she can get under bushes and everything and hide that way perhaps,” McInnes said.

Pet experts say cockatiels are a popular pet known to create close bonds with their owners.

“They have big personalities, they bond really well with their owners, they’re very very affectionate creatures,” said Angela Eastman at Victoria’s Creatures Pet Store.

Eastman says the good news is they’re also pretty hearty birds and can survive in cooler temperatures. If Pip is still alive, she has a good guess where you might spot her.

“Always always, especially around the neighbourhood where it was lost, watch the wild bird seed feeders around the neighbourhood,” she said.

Patrick McInnes has been searching online ads, and has contacted the group ROAM. He also searches every day, particularly in the early morning and evening, trying to find his feathered friend.

“I can feel her on my shoulder once in a while, I swear I saw her, every tweet, every noise, I’m out on the balcony, up at 2 a.m.” he said.

If you have seen a cockatiel in the James Bay or Beacon Hill Park areas in the past 10 days contact ROAM at 778-977-6260.

April Lawrence