Impromptu Parakeet Rescue

As I was walking home through a community garden one afternoon, I saw a group of parakeets gathered in a place where I had never seen them before. They had gathered at the top of a bare tree and were pushing at the edge of a hole in the trunk with their beaks. When I stopped to look, I saw that the parakeets were touching one of their number who had gotten stuck in the hole head-first. Its green tail feathers blended into the scenery. I could hear its muffled squawks. There was no one else around.

The other parakeets flew away as I approached. I grabbed a branch and held it up behind the stuck parakeet, gently touching its foot. I thought that if it could grab the branch, it might be able to pull itself out. But nothing happened.

A man passed by and asked what was going on. When I showed him the stuck parakeet, he went to a nearby construction site and came back with a pallet. He leaned it against the trunk and climbed up, but it wasn’t high enough.

Another man came by and asked us what we were doing. We told him, and he went to the construction site for a ladder.

He climbed up as the other man and I held it steady. At first he tried to grasp the parakeet gently and pull it out, but it was stuck too deeply, and its feathers were so smooth that he could get no purchase. He asked for a tool to enlarge the opening.

I handed up my Swiss army knife, but it was too small. A young woman who came by ran home for a bigger knife, but that didn’t help either.

I ran home for my strongest set of pliers.

“Watch your heads,” the man said as I handed them up.

He began tearing pieces of wood from the opening, which steadily grew wider. At one point he dislodged a large piece with a knothole in it, and shouted a warning just before it fell.

As the knothole hit the ground, the parakeet squawked and flew free.

The four of us let out our breath and smiled.

The man, L., came down from the ladder and we thanked him. We gave our names and went our separate ways.

No, we didn’t save the world. But we did save one wild parakeet.

(Illustrative photo of a rose-necked parakeet (Psittacula krameri). The photographer, Rahel Jaskow, is aware that they are an invasive species, but says it’s not their fault and loves them anyway.)

Rahel Jaskow

Posted by Rahel Jaskow

Rahel Jaskow lives, works, and writes in Jerusalem. Clips of her award-winning CD of Shabbat songs, Day of Rest, can be heard at


Deena Levenstein

What a great story! Sometimes the way everyone stops to help, you’d think we aren’t all terribly busy with our own lives. Very sweet.

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