On Sunday, July 15, 2007, Samantha Hughston came home from a friend’s barbeque to find that nine of her parrots were missing.
That Sunday was one of the few times that Hughston had left the house this year. She runs Babyblue Aviary, located in Northern California, and coordinates her errands and tasks around the baby birds’ feeding schedules.
Hughston said that all the birds were there when she and her boyfriend checked in from the barbecue to feed the babies around 6:30 p.m. They went back to the event, and returned home around 10:30 p.m. to find the first four cages in the aviary empty.
According to Hughston, two pairs of blue-fronted Amazons, a pair of Congo African greys and a pair of Hahn’s mini macaws were bird-napped. In addition, Hughston’s pet hyacinth macaw, Lilly, which Hughston hand-fed and raised since it was 19 days old, was also taken.
Further inspection of the aviary grounds revealed that some wood panels had been kicked out from the 5-foot-high fence behind the aviary. A net, believed to have been used to catch the birds, was found in addition to tire tracks leading away from the aviary.
Posters, flyers and electronic messages have been passed around the world in efforts to help find the birds. Hughston said that she has received messages from people in England and all over the United States asking how they can help.
Hughston believes that her birds’ distinctive catch phrases will play a part in finding them. All of the parrots, but one, wears a leg band. She has pictures of the missing birds and more information on how to identify them on her website. Click here to visis BabyblueAviary.com.
The Solano County Sheriff’s Office is conducting an investigation on the case and is seeking leads. Anyone with information can contact the Sheriff’s Office at (707) 421-7058.
Hughston said the total amount of the bird’s worth is somewhere around $20,000. A $5,000 reward is being offered in connection for the safe return of the parrots.
Hughston believes that her pet hyacinth macaw, Lilly, was the main interest because her other pairs of scarlet macaws, blue-and-gold macaws, Eclectus and umbrella cockatoos were left alone. “Why leave the other macaws?” Hughston said. “None of it makes sense.” Hughston is devastated at the loss of Lilly, who turned 3 years old on the Fourth of July.