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This Bird Is Worth $10,000


His return is priceless. BPP hide caption

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Lee Frankel has been papering his New York neighborhood with fliers seeking information about his lost pet parrot. On today's show, he told us the saga of his lost feathered friend and made the case for its being worth a $10,000 reward.

If you've seen the bird in question, by all means let us know. Second, about that reward: How much is enough — or too much?



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

A bird, a purse, a boat. Is any car worth $60,000? Is any CEO worth millions? Value is quite often in the eye of the beholder.

Sent by liz | 10:18 AM | 11-26-2007

Mr Frankel,
I wish you and your family the best of luck that a kind hearted person will return yur friend and companion, Franklin. I too have a wonderful companion, Sir Wadsworth McDonald, a.k.a. Waddles the cockatoo. If he were to be lost or stolen, it would break my heart. I will keep your family and franklin in my thought and prayers for a happy return. Best of luck.

Sent by Jeanie McDonald | 10:55 AM | 11-26-2007

Mr. Frankel,

While I feel for you, the heartsick owner of a missing pet parrot, I feel a lot more for your intelligent and charismatic companion, Franklin, right now.

Lost or perhaps dead (excuse my pessimism) somewhere in the urban sprawl of New York City, Franklin is far, far away from a more natural dwelling like a RAIN FOREST. I doubt (if alive) Franklin will be able to find appropriate means of sustenance to survive for long on the streets of NY.

I wish him luck, though, and I do hope that you find him, so he can return to his comfortable ... cage?

Sent by Kathryn Wade | 1:27 PM | 11-26-2007

I have an African Grey and understand Mr. Frankel's distress. Listeners be aware: all Congo African Grey's (the most common variety) have bright red tails and are great at sound imitation. Microwaves are very popular with Greys.

Sent by Curtis Wood | 2:28 PM | 11-26-2007

Loss of a pet is devastating. I know. But the practice of capturing, shipping, selling, maiming, and caging animals is literally unbearable. When will we wake up? I hope he gets the bird back because he has suffered enough - the bird I mean.

Sent by Ty Henderson | 4:55 PM | 11-26-2007

It might be possible for a professional telepathic animal communicator to locate Franklin. Try the directory of animal communicators nationwide on Penelope Smith's site:
Best of luck in finding your wonderful friend!

Sent by Laurel Marshfield | 2:17 PM | 11-27-2007

How sad to see the mean-spritied comments above, suggesting that this parrot was somehow abused even before he went lost. Anyone who has lived with a parrot will tell you how closely they bond with human beings. Indeed, they have done so since the time of the pyramids, long before cats and dogs were domesticated. The truth is: parrots like being with us.

This is not an argument for decimating tropical habitats or any of that. Just leave this guy alone. He's lost an African Grey. If you haven't walked in his shoes, you can't know what that entails.

Sent by Gordon | 9:39 PM | 11-27-2007

Lee, we are sending positive thoughts your way in hopes that your beloved companion will find his way back to you. Disregard those thoughtless, unkind remarks--Franklin obviously is a well-loved and cared for bird who is blessed with a good home. May you be reunited soon.

Sent by Kathrin | 9:24 AM | 11-28-2007

Why are people so judgmental? Somebody looses a pet, we have to do an environmental inquiry about it. My 10 year old son lost his kitten on Halloween. We looked everywhere. I sort of gave up looking, but he stills goes around searching. He says he will never have a pet again, because it's too heartbreaking to loose them. Imagine, I will have to go back to Ancient Egypt to question the capturing of felines for human comfort. Help the guy find his pet, offer support, or if you don't have anything good to say, say nothing and stay away from it. Do the environment a favor and GET A LIFE.

Sent by lizcon | 12:08 PM | 11-28-2007

Mr franklin.
I truly hope your bird is out of harm's way. I hope that my worst fears--that he's landed among those intending to eat him--are not realized. Although seemingly delicious, I once had an opportunity to eat African Gray Parrot meat on a trip to the Congo in the early 90's. The meat, although quite tasty, was littered with tiny bones and the better part of the meal was spent meticulously removing shards of fishing line-sized bone. Unless the meat is proffessionally prepared most of it will be inedible and gone to waste. At any rate, I hope this isn't the case and he finds his way back to you.

Sent by Chris Andres | 12:17 PM | 11-28-2007

I couldn't afford an African Grey, my first choice, so I bought a half-moon conure and am already attached. I feel very sad for the bird and its owner. For those unaware, a lot of birds are bred in this country as was the 5 month old African Grey I fell in love with this past weekend. I also have two cats and two dogs. There is nothing like the love and companionship of a pet.

Sent by Louise B. Mercer | 12:38 PM | 11-28-2007

Why must the owner be questioned this way? If he is offering such a large reward, instead of just going out and spending 1000 for a new baby bird, he OBVIOUSLY cares deeply for his family member, Waddles. Yes, pet parrots become members of the family, and it is a complete joy to have the companionship of a parrot, or any pet for that matter. Im sending positive thoughts for you and Waddles, i really hope he makes his way back into your home!!

Sent by yvonne | 2:43 PM | 11-28-2007

You say that comments are reviewed and edited prior to display. Either that is not true or who ever is reviewing the comments is a heartless person for allowing a comment such as the one left by Chris Andres. Anyone with even the smallest amount of compassion would understand the pain of loosing a companion and would not type such useless comments or allow them to be reviewed and posted for others to see. I am disappointed. What has this wold come to when the media encourages hateful and depressing stories and comments and the the general public buys into it and supports it.
I hope that the Grey finds its way home and is not suffering.

Sent by Alicia Roth | 3:48 PM | 11-28-2007

Mr. Frankel,
I truly hope you'll find your Franklin. Sharing my life with parrots as well, I completely understand your heart-ache. If one of my guys would be lost, I'd give anything I could to get them back - people who are not blessed by birds/animals in their lives will never understand.
Best of luck,

Sent by BB | 7:57 PM | 11-28-2007

Mr. Frankel~I realize there is nothing I can say to make it better. I have two greys of my own and shudder at even the thought of going through what you are. I can tell you love your bird and know the unparalleled bond we have with them. May he come back to you safe. You and Franklin are in my thoughts.

Please ignore these horrible posts.

Some people's spirits are so lost and cold. I don't envy you.

Sent by Kosose | 10:06 PM | 11-28-2007

NPR listeners,
We have been inundated with supportive emails, useful suggestions, caring phone calls, and for the most part, the opportunity to experience the pinnacle of human kindness from strangers (and of course, friends and family). Fortunately, the dark side of people, with rare exception, has been minimal. A more loved and well cared-for parrot than FRANKLIN is not to be found. PLEASE, help us to keep our search alive by perpetuating interest in our cause. If he is still alive, our odds of bringing him home are not to be taken lightly. Thank you, again, we so appreciate the support!

Sent by Lee M. & Lee A. Frankel | 11:53 PM | 11-28-2007

Mr. Frankel,
I will keep you and Franklin in my prayers. I too am owned by two birds (parrotlets,) so I know how deep the bond is, and how desperate you must feel. I sincerely hope that you find him healthy as soon as possible. In the meantime, please disregard the ignorant, negative commentary from people who don't seem to understand higher emotions such as compassion and empathy.

Sent by Lynda | 12:51 AM | 11-29-2007

People who have never shared their lives with a bird just don't understand how magical they and intelligent they are. I hope you find him safe and sound. And who ever took him gets punished for such a wicked act.

Sent by IonaElectus | 12:13 PM | 11-29-2007

I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for our daughter Leigh and son in law Lee. The loss of Franklin was learned the day after Thanksgiving and they rushed back from our home in Florida. Please continue the search. Pat and I are truly grateful fot this show of caring and support Dean

Sent by Dean Evans | 12:15 PM | 11-29-2007

I wish you the best of luck finding your pet. I have faith that you will find your bird. On one of the first pretty spring days while living in NYC 10 years ago, we had a parrot fly into your 5th floor apartment. He flew around and landed on all of our shoulders. When he and WE finally settled, we started to try to figure out how to get him back to the owner. It was after 5 p.m. on a Friday so we knew he would be with us for the weekend. We got him some food and called the SPCA on Saturday. We found out we had to go up uptown to get a carrier then take him back up to their location for them to take care of them. On Saturday, my roommate made ???Found Bird??? signs. He hung them on his way to work and we had somebody call us the next day.

The owners told us that a friend had seen the sign and thought they would call. We asked them the numbers on the bird???s tag on his foot. It matched and they were elated. They lived only a few blocks away. Turns out that the owners were enjoying the nice day like we were with the windows open and when the wife started to vacuum the bird got startled and flew away. The owners were over to our apartment very quickly. They were so happy to see their pet. They told him how expensive the was and how much he meant to them. They gave us $50 which we tried to refuse but the insisted.

I hope for the quick return of your pet!

Sent by Missy Mears | 2:29 PM | 11-29-2007

I am so sorry for you grief and worry about your companion as well as the insensitive and ignorant people who haven't experienced the long term connection to and intellegant bird. DO NOT GIVE UP. In August of 2006 my beloved Lilac Crowned Amazon, Buzzy diappeared from my temporary residence in East Tennessee. As you I was panicked nto knowing if he was suffering, alive or dead. And as a former member of the press...I alerted the media. 3 months later we had an international press party when a nice man in LONG ISLAND called me and told me had Buzzy. I've had Buzzy for 30 of his at least 48 years. Call to your friend with your entire heart and soul. Contact me for encouragement and consolation if you like! He's out there! He did not just go "POOF"...but I hope he POOPS on mean people! Google for hope at Parrot Buzzy of millions of celebratory articles.

Sent by Kimberlyn Kendrick | 4:56 PM | 11-30-2007

I really hope you find Franklin soon. I know I'd be devastated if my dog disappeared. I'm not a "bird person" myself, but a good friend has quite a few parrots, including two African greys, one of whom is brilliant, so I understand how special Franklin must be.

Someone above mentioned that an animal communicator might be helpful. I am very skeptical about such things, to put it tactfully. However, I've heard from some pretty sensible, rational, intelligent people that there's an animal comminicator in PA who is very good, and a former vet of mine actually used to recommend her to clients who had some interest. For whatever it's worth, here's her website with contact info:

Sent by aironeverde | 8:03 PM | 11-30-2007

I lost my African Grey in the woods overnight but did not give up. I found him in the ivy in the woods the next morning and boy was he happy to see me. Never give up!!!!

Sent by Darryl Jones | 10:40 PM | 11-30-2007

I found--and then returned--a parrot that had been lost for more than a month. He had been lost for more than a month and was more than ten miles from home. D

Don't give up and keep widening the search as time goes by.

Sent by Gordon | 11:55 AM | 12-1-2007

I am sitting her at my computer with my Amazon Puff perched on my knee. She has been a member of my family for 16 years. If I lost her I would give whatever I had to get her back. I hope whoever has Franklin returns him to you as soon as possible.

Sent by Deborah Dean | 11:28 PM | 12-1-2007

Mr Franklin, I am mutually bonded with a a Blue Front Amazon that has been my companion for 17 years, and imagine your and especially your wife's anxiety and grief all too well.

While most of the comments here have been sympathetic and supportive, the ignorance, insensitivity, stupidity and even cruelty of some of them is appalling.

Mr Franklin, the NPR report didn't say if the police investigated the theft of your cherished companion from the boarding facility. Was there a break-in? If not, then have the police questioned staff? Are they pursuing leads? How the hell could this place have only SUSPECTED that your bird MIGHT have gone missing on a Wednesday (either he's there or not!) and then not alerted you until Fri?

At least it's reasonable to hope that the thief's presumed appreciation of his monetary value means that his/her intention is not to harm. I fervently hope that the thief will opt to take advantage of your generous reward and No-Questions-Asked terms and return him your beloved bird to his home and family.

Sent by Deborah Cohen | 12:34 PM | 12-3-2007

Jambo and I both hope you find your dear bird. As a Congo African Grey, Jambo is particularly concerned about the well being of her brothers and sisters (of all avian species). We both wish you the best of luck.

Sent by Milan and "Jambo" Mijatovic | 12:47 AM | 12-11-2007

Any news on Franklin all these months later? For those with lost birds there is a website that monitors all the other lost and found sites and newspaper listings so that everything is in one place. The address is
My birds are microchipped. It's not "lojack" but if found, it will prove that they are mine.

Sent by Andrea | 3:42 PM | 3-16-2008


Franklin has been reunited with his owners:

Sent by Emily | 6:27 PM | 3-16-2008

This story is a wonderful example of how people still "do the right thing" in these days and times.

Parrots are wonderful, intelligent and beloved family members for many people world wide. They are no longer wild caught birds brought into the United States since the early 90s - currently all birds come from breeders, pet stores and adoptions from rescue organizations. If your bird is lost or stolen, be sure to contact local Humane Society and Rescue Organizations as well as internet bird boards where threads just for lost and found are located. Your birds can fly a long way or be transported to other areas, these resources can help immensely.

I'm sure the Frankels are doing everything they can now to be sure that Franklin is easily identifiable. God bless them all, especially Franklin, for undergoing the horrible ordeal like a trooper.

Sent by W Maurstad | 11:33 PM | 3-24-2008