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Brooks Firestone has worked as a tire executive, a winemaker, a ranch owner, a California State Assemblyman, and a Santa Barbara County Supervisor. He and his wife, Kate, have lived for nearly 40 years in the Santa Ynez Valley, where they raised their four children. They are celebrating 60 years of marriage June of 2018.

As read from Brooks Firestone's book 'Valley Animals: True Stories about the Animals and People of California's Santa Ynez Valley,' Part V, page 152-153: Parrot Peregrinations.

"Joel and Charlotte Baker were returning home with their teenage son Zack, driving almost to the top of their driveway, when they noticed a mysterious presence at the side of the road. Inspection revealed a large docile parrot under a bush eyeing the Bakers as only parrots can do with an intense, sideways, one-eye stare. The bird did not seem alarmed or inclined to move, but appeared distinctly out of place. The big-eyed bird sported bright turquoise and yellow feathers, a gorgeous sight to behold, sitting alone and foreign to the Valley countryside.

The Baker-bird meeting was on a Sunday afternoon, and parents wondered what to do while Zack took the bird water and fruit, demonstrating an unerring instinct of a young person in sympathy with an animal. The parrot was hungry and thirsty and left his bush for the food and water. Next began a long process of tempting the bird to move, using more treats to chum the new friend along the road toward the Baker home. Finally bird and boy were close to the barn, and Zack actually put on a glove and persuaded the parrot to perch on his wrist and enter an enclosed room in the barn where, at least, he would remain safe until events developed.

This was an impressive opening act of animal recovery but what next? The Bakers phone around town and finally reached the proprietor of a pet store who said, yes, he had heard of a missing parrot, and would initiate a search among bird owners from the store the next day, Monday. Meanwhile, the bird lodged overnight in parrot splendor on a rail in the Baker's barn, easily making friends with the sympathetic Zack, who has always had a knack with animals. By now the bird was full of fruit and water and inclined to be dozy.

The next day a surprised and grateful owner, Dr. Jean Seamount, was tracked down by the pet store, and the parrot identified as "Tiki." Parrots and owners have long-term relationships, and an open window and a moment of confusion caused the bird to leave home, travel around Buellton, and come to rest beside the Bakers' driveway. An immensely relieved Dr. Seamount retrieved the parrot, who was equally happy to leave barn and boy for a familiar home. The Baker family basked in the glow of a truly good deed successfully accomplished and a happy memory of the exotic visitor.

A year later, Zack needed braces and on good recommendation, headed off to a skilled orthodontist, whom the Bakers recognized as her parrot's rescuer and was happy to fit Zack with the necessary braces that resulted in a great smile that will be with him the rest of his life. When the time came to settle the fee, the Bakers discovered that this work was a gift from the good doctor, with all gratitude for the shelter and return of her wandering parrot friend."

This report was compiled by Lisa André. You can reach her at landre@leecentralcoastnews.com. Follow her on Twitter @LAndréSYVNews  

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