NIPOMO, Calif. - A Nipomo family is looking for help as they search for more than two dozen birds lost amid the violent storm Sunday morning.
"It was so windy and pouring so hard. We lost so many limbs,” said longtime Nipomo resident Karyn Cleary. “I don't think I've ever seen it so windy in Nipomo and we've been here 32 years."
During the storm, the wind ripped open an aviary in Cleary's backyard, which was home to dozens of beloved birds.
"I looked out to my birds and I noticed the roof was lifting off of it,” said Cleary. "As the wind was blowing, about 25 parakeets blew that way and three of my cockatiels blew that way."
It's been a difficult two days for Cleary since the storm. She's had to re-adjust to not having the birds and their friendly sounds in her backyard.
"I miss them call through the screens and chatter at us all the time while we're out here with the horses and the grandkids,” said Cleary.
Also lost in the wind was a dove. All of the birds were gone in an instant, blown away into the storm.
"With the winds being so hard and it raining so hard as it was, I don't know what kind of a chance they have of coming back,” said Cleary.
Not to be deterred, the family is now actively searching for the birds. They've started an aggressive campaign that is in need of community help.
"We've been doing a lot of social media, Facebook,” said Cleary's daughter Kristine Gould. “I've got a lot of pet groups involved sharing. I've been going out hitting up all the local vets. Going out posting signs everywhere that I could find to post one."
The Cleary family is hoping by getting the word and pictures out, someone in the Nipomo area or beyond might spot one of the birds and help it return home.
"If people could just keep an eye out and glance around it they're walking around,” said Gould. “Look in the trees, see if there is any kind of bright color or an unusual looking bird.”
In particular, the Cleary's are hoping to find a beloved gray cockatiel named Dobbie, who hold a special place with the family.
"I got him when I was 12 years old and he's been with the family for about 20 years now,” Gould said. “He's in his 30's, mid-30's, so losing him is pretty devastating."
Now that two days have passed, the family understands the difficulty in locating the birds. Clearly calls it like finding a needle in a haystack. Still, she remains optimistic.
"We've got some hope out there,” said Cleary. “There's been so many people out there wanting to pitch in and give us a hand."
Anyone with information on the missing birds is urged to call (805) 709-5674.