Billy Joel’s ‘Uptown Girl’ Reunites Lost Cockatiel with Owner
The famous ’80s hit Piano Man by Billy Joel recently played a significant and unique role in rescuing a pet bird in South Carolina.
Last month, Christine Iturrino, a Myrtle Beach resident was unloading groceries when Joel, the cockatiel she had adopted from a bird rescue organization 18 months prior, flew out of the door.
Iturrino attempted to catch Joel, but this move startled him and caused him to fly away, screeching all the way toward the ocean.
Iturrino, a bus driver, was distressed, stating that Joel enjoyed listening to 1980s pop music and had the freedom to roam around her home all day and back in his cage at night.
According to a post Iturrino made on Facebook about her lost bird, Joel was fond of the Billy Joel song “Uptown Girl,” which she said influenced his name.
— New York Post (@nypost) March 21, 2023
Iturrino created “Parrot Alert” posters advertising a reward, and distributed them throughout her community.
“Considering how friendly he is with people, I had high hopes that he’ll eventually be found by someone. But as time went by, I began to fear that I’d never see him again,” she shared.
After what felt like an eternity (precisely nine days later), Iturrino received a text message while at work. The statement read, “We believe we have found your bird.”
This message came from an employee of SkyWheel Myrtle Beach, a 200-foot Ferris wheel with 42 enclosed gondolas.
The employee —Theresa Glazer, also shared a photo of herself with Joel perched on her shoulder while in the SkyWheel ticket booth.
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How Did They Find The Cockatiel?
During a routine safety inspection, an employee of SkyWheel named Gavin Scire, nicknamed “Spider-Man” for his impressive climbing abilities, heard a chirping sound about 100 feet up on a ladder.
He sought out where the sound came from and discovered a Joel perched on one of the ladder’s rungs.
The bird appeared frightened and unable to fly down to the ground on its own. So Scire took the initiative to cradle the bird in his hoodie carefully.
Although the cockatiel hesitated to enter a pet carrier, it eventually found solace on Glazer’s shoulder.
Glazer narrated the story of the found bird to her mom. The latter told a neighbor who had seen one of the posters put up by Iturrino.
According to Sean Bailey, the park’s marketing manager, a neighbor saw the missing bird notices about Joel and could recall that he liked Billy Joel’s music.
Theresa obtained Christine’s phone number from the message and contacted her. Upon seeing the post about Joel’s love for Billy Joel’s music, they played Piano Man tunes to confirm it was Joel.
When Joel started bobbing his head to the music, everyone was sure it was Christine’s bird.
Notably, Joel isn’t the only cockatiel with a thing for the 1983 hit “Uptown Girl” by Billy Joel. A Reddit user shared a cute video of their bird Moe whistling to the song nine months ago.
Joel has reunited with Iturrino, who can now happily go about her day. According to Iturrino, her feathered companion flew over her shoulder and squawked at her.
“I can’t explain how happy I am that he’s back. Joel is such an integral part of my daily life, and I didn’t notice until he was gone,” Iturrino said.
She also expressed how much she had missed him and praised him for his bravery after reuniting with him.
Iturrino took the bird to the vet. He felt relief upon hearing that he was healthy despite losing some weight.