Fern the $5,000 toucan is returned home after being missing for 8 months


BREA – Courtney Chapman had never seen $5,000 disappear so fast … fly away really.

In May, one of two toucans she purchased as birthday gifts for her husband and her son, escaped the aviary of her Fullerton home not 15 minutes after being dropped off by the breeder.

“The chances of getting her back are slim to none,” Chapman said she was told. The toucan had not yet been microchipped.

On Tuesday, Fern flew into a Yorba Linda auto repair shop, where an Omar’s Exotic Birds employee, Connor Chubbuck, captured her.

On Thursday, she was reunited with her owner.

While free, Fern gained quite the following.

Fern the Toucan was spotted in trees and on power lines, lounging with crows, parrots and other birds on residential gates and lawn posts.

One man said Fern, named after her Fullerton community, ate berries from his Yorba Linda back yard.

“She was quite striking,” recalled Allison Howell, whose chance encounter with the keel-billed toucan came on Dec. 20 in downtown Fullerton. “I’m not particularly an animal person, but it was definitely a sight to see.”

Chapman, 39, joined Nextdoor, a private social network app intended for neighbors, shortly after Fern’s escape, hoping someone would see her 6-month-old toucan. Before long, pictures of Fern perched around Fullerton were shared on the app. Chapman also started a Facebook page under Fern’s name. Videos of the bird were posted.

On more than one occasion, Chapman tried capturing Fern herself. Those who saw the bird in recent months said…

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