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updated: 7/9/2011 11:14 AM

Lost parrot and Lake Zurich owner reunited

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  • Bird "hero" Ralph Ostrom with his new friend, Kasha, and its owner, Lida Dobina.

      Bird "hero" Ralph Ostrom with his new friend, Kasha, and its owner, Lida Dobina.
    Courtesy of Prairieview at The Garlands

  • Kasha the parrot was happily reunited with his owner, thanks to the caring members and staff of Prairieview at The Garlands.

      Kasha the parrot was happily reunited with his owner, thanks to the caring members and staff of Prairieview at The Garlands.
    Courtesy of Prairieview at The Garlands

By Danielle Gensburg

A Lake Zurich parrot that strayed far from home, has been reunited with its owner thanks to a Facebook wall post.

It was a Sunday afternoon when Ralph Ostrom opened his balcony door and let in, to his surprise, a colorful parrot that flew past and landed on the kitchen sink faucet.

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Just moments before, Ralph's daughter-in-law saw the unusual looking bird perched on the balcony and pointed it out.

"I was kind of surprised to see a bird out there with such beautiful coloring," Ostrom said.

The parrot, whose name turned out to be Kasha, had escaped from its owner's Lake Zurich home the day before and flew to Prairieview at The Garlands Assisted Living Community in Barrington.

Despite considerable research and numerous phone calls that day and the next, Prairieview residents and staff were unable to reach Kasha's owner.

"We made calls to the Barrington Police Department, animal control, local veterinarians, rescue organizations," said Activity Director Lisa Geisler. "I even called Parrot 911, an organization dedicated to reuniting lost or stolen parrots with their families."

With no luck, residents and staff went about preparations to house the parrot until the owner could be found.

"The first day, our staff was very creative. They created a cage using two mesh baskets connected with pipe cleaners," Geisler said.

The next couple of days, Kasha was fed fruit, water and crackers.

"The bird seemed very happy with us," Ostrom said. "It didn't seem to have any problems."

Then, on June 9, a Thursday afternoon, Executive Director Bruce Berlin was perusing Facebook when he found posted on a friend's page a picture of a flier seeking a parrot.

The parrot was the very same Kasha.

The friend, who had posted the flier as a joke not believing the parrot would turn up, was dumbfounded when Berlin contacted him through email and explained a parrot had flown into the assisted living home just days before.

"It turned out the bird lived in Lake Zurich," Geisler said. "The owner had put up posters around the major stores in town."

Obtaining contact info from the flier, staff called the owner and requested information to identify the bird.

"When Bruce was on the phone with the owner's boyfriend, Kasha cawed in the background and the boyfriend recognized the call," Geisler said. "He exclaimed, 'That's Kasha!'"

The owner, Lida Dobina, had been crying for days at the loss of Kasha, the boyfriend said.

Arriving at Prairieview with her boyfriend that day, and unaware of what was about to pass, Lida was finally reunited with Kasha.

"Her jaw literally dropped and her eyes started welling with tears," Geisler said.

The team effort to reunite Kasha with Lida came out of human compassion and understanding.

"A lot of the folks who work here are pet owners and it was really a priority for us to take care of Kasha and make sure she returned home," Geisler said.

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