Missing Pet Bird Found on Observation Wheel Attraction in South Carolina: 'Definitely a First'

Cockatiel rescued on the SkyWheel
Cockatiel rescued on the SkyWheel

SkyWheel Myrtle Beach/Facebook

A missing pet bird shocked its owners by turning up on the center of a large observation wheel.

The Myrtle Beach SkyWheel, posted on Facebook that an employee discovered the lost cockatiel when climbing up to do a "daily wheel check."

The employee, named Gavin, heard chirping noises and spotted the bird hopping on the bars of the SkyWheel about 100 feet in the air. He held out his hand, and the brave bird "flew to him," landing on his outstretched arm, the post said. Gavin secured the bird in his hoodie and climbed down the observation wheel with the pet.

Sean Bailey, marketing manager at SkyWheel Attractions, told Myrtle Beach Online that finding the bird "was definitely a first."

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The Myrtle Beach SkyWheel said another employee named Theresa was able to locate the cockatiel's owner after she came across a neighbor who had seen a missing bird flier with a description that matched the bird.

That post came from owner Christine Cowles Iturrino who posted on social media about her search for her lost cockatiel named Joel. She wrote a Facebook post on Feb. 25 asking people to be on the lookout for the bird and offered a $500 reward for the pet's return.

Iturrino didn't say how Joel disappeared but noted that he was a "rescue" with "separation anxiety" and a "foot fetish." She also noted that he needs a "night light" and "loves music," notably "Uptown Girl" by Billy Joel, whom the bird was named after.

"Most importantly, please, please keep him safe, I had promised him that, and I've let him down," she wrote in the post.

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Iturrino's tune shifted more positive in a March 6 post about her reunion with Joel.

"The most amazing thing has happened, Joel, my lost cockatiel is safe and home with me where he belongs!" she wrote. "I'm feeling so incredibly blessed and lucky right now."

She revealed that Joel hadn't flown too far from home, as the SkyWheel is about two miles from Iturrino's home and two blocks from her workplace.

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"Words cannot express how incredibly grateful I am to have my Bubby back," Iturrino said in the post. "He seems totally unscathed from his adventures, just very tired and hungry. He's spending the day in his cage to catch up on his rest and then going to get a checkup."

As for SkyWheel Attractions, Bailey told Myrtle Beach Online: "We're really proud of our crew for responding the way they did, not only getting the bird to safety but also being able to track down his owner. To be out there for a whole week and survive in the ecosystem ... I'm just so glad we got a happy ending."