Michael Sazhin, a professional bird trainer and parrot enthusiast, told NBC 4 New York that the parrot, named Truman, flew off around 11 a.m. Monday when they took their regular trip to the park near 16th Avenue and 75th Street.
Sazhin has three parrots and says he often takes them to the park to fly. Truman has never flown off before, he says. The bird was last seen flying away down 16th Avenue.
Truman is a smaller bird -- only about 350 grams or the size of a pigeon -- with a disproportionately large beak, short tail and orange trim under his wings and near his feet. Sazhin says Truman is very friendly, but he's not equipped to survive on his own in the wild for more than a few days.
"He might just land on someone's shoulder and say, 'Hey cute!,' hoping for food," Sazhin says.
Sazhin got Truman from a breeder in Florida four years ago and has cared for the bird since it was a chick. He named the parrot Truman because in videotaping and sharing his upbringing and training progress with the world, he was reminded of "The Truman Show" with Jim Carrey.
"Thousands of people on Facebook and online are rooting for his safe return," Sazhin says. "But it's like finding a needle in a haystack."
With the weather expected to turn windy and rainy Tuesday evening, Sazhin wants to get Truman home before it's too late. And he's hoping for some help.
Sazhin asks that anyone who spots the parrot call him immediately at (917) 318-6394 and, if Truman does land on someone's shoulder, Sazhin asks that person treat the bird like a pet. Don't try to capture him or do anything to scare him, Sazhin says. Just cuddle him, scratch his beak or give him some bread.
Sazhin has canvassed the area himself over the last 24 hours, calling to Truman, and even tried bringing along another parrot that Truman has lived with his whole life.
"I'm hoping if he sees or hears her in addition to me it might get him jealous or he might hear her voice better than mine," he says.
Sazhin says he's admired birds and planes since childhood. He's been flying gliders since he was 18 and when he thought about getting a pet, a pilot friend suggested a bird. He did, and has owned many since. He's also written a book on parrot training and socializing and runs parrotwizard.com.
Sazhin takes his bird show on the road to conferences, community groups and schools and has performed with his parrots on "America's Got Talent," "The Steve Harvey Show" and "The Late Show With David Letterman." He says his other bird, Kili, usually is the one on TV while Truman hangs out backstage.
"Now he's getting the publicity but not for a good reason," Sazhin says.
Anyone who sees Truman or has information about the bird is asked to call Sazhin at (917) 318-6394. He can also be reached by email at email@example.com.