Courier Life’s

FDNY called to rescue macaw from perch

Bird gets stuck in tree

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Got ‘em: Firefighter Jomo Thomas, left, looks on as Vincent Sammarco grabs the mischevious macaw.
Save my bird!: Matthew Treppiedi looks on anxiously as firefighters try to recover his tropical bird, Albus, who caused quite a scene after he flew into a tree on Sunday.
It’s a bird’s life: Firefighter Vincent Sammarco stands victorious after rescuing the bird.
Back with dad: Firefighter Jomo Thomas, left, and Firefighter Vincent Sammarco, right, celebrate with Matthew Treppiedi, who is happy to have his macaw, Albus, back safe and sound.

Cats aren’t the only pets that get stuck in trees.

A hapless owner’s vain attempts to coo down his three-month-old tropical bird from 18 hours in a tree Saturday evening ended with a call to the New York’s Bravest, who valiantly retrieved the wayward fowl the next day.

“He’s really like my baby, so it was terrible thinking of him not coming back,” said Mill Basin resident Matthew Treppiedi, 18.

The trouble started Saturday evening while Treppiedi was training his young, blue-and-gold macaw, Albus, in the yard behind his home on Basset Avenue near E. 66th Street. Suddenly, the bird flew to the top of a 50-foot-tall tree.

“That tree was holy God big,” said Treppiedi. “It was insanely tall.”

In typical bird fashion, Treppiedi said the macaw bonded to him upon sight. He said that Albus wasn’t trying to escape, but that he was probably spooked by something, which scared him up into the tree.

The tropical bird is a strong flier, but inexperienced, and his owner thinks the fowl bit off more than it could chew when it flew into such a high tree.

“We’ve only been flight training at eye level, so at a height that large, he might have been scared that he couldn’t perch on the way down,” said Treppiedi.

Whatever the case, Albus decided to spend the rest of the night in the tree on Gaylord Drive South, as Treppiedi, his parents, his two sisters, and their fiances tried in vain to persuade the bird to come down.

Treppiedi said they wheeled the bird’s cage, along with his food, the two blocks between his house and Albus’ perch to lure him down. When that didn’t work, his sister’s fiance bought a 60-foot-long poll in order to provide Treppiedi’s pet with a man-powered elevator.

Despite their best efforts, Albus stayed put. As Saturday’s thunder clouds rolled in, Treppiedi knew he was in for a long night.

“That was one of the worst nights ever,” he said. “My whole family took turns waiting in the rain with an umbrella. I was up the whole time.”

The next morning, Albus decided he was tired of tree he was in. He flew off to find another, smaller tree further down Gaylord Drive.

Realizing their efforts were failing, Treppiedi decided to call in the professionals.

“After a point, we thought someone would have to get into the tree,” he said. “We couldn’t get up there so we called the fire department.”

Heeding the call, Ladder Engine 159 raced to the bird’s rescue. Soon, firefighters Jomo Thomas and Vincent Sammarco were lowered down out of the tree with Albus triumphantly in hand.

“I shook everyone of their hands, I was so thankful,” said Treppiedi. “They didn’t even have to do that.”

The young Mill Basin man says Albus is doing well after his ordeal, and Treppiedi looks forward to their long lives together.

“I’m just happy he’s safe and eating watermelon,” he said.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4514.

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