After months of gaining fame on the lam, Fern the toucan has wound up back at home in Southern California in time for the new year.
After escaping from an aviary in Fullerton in May, her owner, Courtney Chapman, was told the odds of finding her again were slim to none. But on Tuesday, Fern was spotted near an auto repair shop in Yorba Linda, and an expert from Omar's Exotic Birds was eventually able to capture her, ending weeks of sightings and social media posts from locals who came across the exotic bird, making her somewhat of a celebrity.
A Facebook page was set up, to which local posted and were kept up to date on the search.
"She was quite striking," Allison Howell, who came came across the six-month-old bird on Dec. 20 in downtown Fullerton, told the Orange County Register. "I’m not particularly an animal person, but it was definitely a sight to see."
On Thursday, Chapman and Fern were reunited, posting on Facebook:
"We have Fern home safe!! Getting ready to move her into her new temporary house (until her new private residence is built) and she's already eating papaya (when we aren't looking of course lol)!"
After Fern's great Southern California adventure, she'll join an aviary that includes a breeding male named, of course, Fruity Loops.
"It was awesome seeing all of Fullerton come together and track Fern, well-wishing her constantly," Chapman told the Register. "I’m glad she got to go out and share her experiences. Everybody’s had an experience with her, and I think it’s awesome that she got to go out and meet friends."
Jason Wells is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
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