Pandora's box has been opened in Martinez, resulting in a swooping, shrieking parrot diving at passers-by along Oakley Pirkle Road.
Pandora's owner says people shouldn't be alarmed. It's just a harmless 19-year-old Patagonian conure missing since escaping her Martinez home the first week of August.
"The Patagonian bird is like having a puppy," owner Donald La Vigne said. "They like to play; they like to chew, they are extremely social."
About four weeks ago, Pandora escaped when La Vigne's 4-year-old son left the garage door open.
La Vigne said Pandora is simply signaling she wants to land and anyone encountering the bird should extend an arm.
"(Pandora) has been hand-raised, so she's more likely to come to someone if they're standing still outdoors," he said. "Clapping or whistling will bring her."
Since hanging signs and placing ads in the newspaper, the family has gotten dozens of calls, some from as far away as Columbia.
At least three people have called La Vigne saying they had spotted the parrot shrieking and swooping near their heads in the area of Oakley-Pirkle Road and Brookwood Elementary School on South Old Belair Road.
La Vigne, who has owned the parrot for nearly 20 years, said his son was distraught when the bird flew away.
"It's a tough loss. It's almost like losing a child," he said, adding the summer heat and hawks are threats to Pandora's safety.
La Vigne has owned the bird since 1988, through college and graduate school.
A devotee of mythology, La Vigne named the bird after the first woman, who, according to legend, was created by the Greek gods to punish man. She was given talents of the gods and an urn, which held all the plagues of mankind.
When the mythical Pandora opened the urn, it unleashed havoc, and only hope remained inside the vessel, so the legend goes.
For now, hope for the public's help is all the La Vigne family has to find their beloved pet. Pandora is described as being about the size of a small pigeon, with a long tail, olive-green body with a red-and-yellow patch on the stomach, yellow on the wings and gray on the head.
Anyone who has seen Pandora is asked to contact the La Vignes at (706) 627-7060.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.