Cockatiel reunited with Carmel owner 3 weeks after flying away


When Kathleen Gause-Thoman ended up with a cockatiel named Elvis from a family member, she wasn’t sure how to care for the bird.

“My brother bought the bird about 14 years ago,” Gause-Thoman said. “Long story short, I ended up with Elvis. I didn’t know at the time, but I should have had his wings clipped.”

That small bit of knowledge would have prevented what happened Aug. 5. 

“I had Elvis sitting on my shoulder one day, and I went outside,” Gause-Thoman said. “I didn’t even think about it. The next thing I knew, he was flying up into a huge tree in my yard.”

Elvis stayed in the area for a day or so. Gause-Thoman coaxed and called for Elvis to no avail. She had to go to work, but when she returned home, he was gone.

Gause-Thoman posted a missing bird notice on the Nextdoor app.

“I got a text on Aug. 25 from a man who lives in Ohio,” Gause-Thoman said. “He said while he was in (Carmel) visiting family, he found a bird. He said he took the bird to the clubhouse of the apartment complex where he found the bird.”

Gause-Thoman called North Haven of Carmel to see if the bird it acquired was her pet.

“(North Haven resident and employee) Mike Glenn got back to me, and we went back and forth a few times trying to verify if the bird he had was Elvis,” Gause-Thoman said. “I went into the apartment complex, and Elvis came right to me, whistling. They had never seen him act that way, so they knew he was mine.”

Elvis was gone for about 20 days. During that time, he stayed relatively close to home, flying only about 2 1/2 miles from Gause-Thoman’s house. Glenn and his girlfriend, Sarah Somogyi, who helped care for Elvis, were happy to return the pet to his owner.

For her part, Gause-Thoman plans to keep Elvis’ wings clipped. She is grateful for his safe return.