Lola, the African gray parrot whose Silver Lake owner put up billboards when she went missing, has been returned home safe and sound.
She was discovered two miles away, on the balcony of a house in East Hollywood. Margaret Starr, the home's owner, spotted her perched in a pot of geraniums after she attracted the attention of Starr's cats.
Starr, 71, slipped on a pair of oven mitts and picked the bird up, putting an end to Lola's 24-day adventure in the wilds of Los Angeles.
Lola took flight from Alexis Readinger's backyard on June 26. Readinger searched for her high and low, with the aid of a psychic, a pet detective, two bloodhounds and 400 fliers. On traveling billboards stationed across Silver Lake, she offered a $2,000 reward for the parrot and described Lola's taste for "almonds, oranges and ice cream."
Dozens of strangers called to offer advice or say they had spotted the bird. But none of the leads led to Lola until last Wednesday, when Starr called after spotting Readinger's Craigslist post.
At first sight, Readinger wasn't convinced the parrot was hers, she said. This bird, she said, had a wild way about her, "like a raptor in the wind." And when she said "hello," it was in a lower register than Lola's typically high-pitched greetings.
But then Readinger recognized the scar on Lola's talon, where she had once been clipped by a closing door.
When Lola left, Starr and her husband, Marvin Friedenn, found themselves missing the silvery bird.
"She had filled the house with her energy," said Friedenn, 71.
Readinger decided to thank the couple by using a portion of the reward money to buy them a parrot of their own and Starr and Friedenn asked that Readinger donate the rest to a nonprofit that cares for cats. The couple have named their new bird l'Odeon after their favorite street in Paris.
As for Readinger, a few days ago she bought some red spray paint and set out to update her billboards.
"Lola Found," they now read. "Thnx, L.A. We [ heart] you."