‘Cheesy’ the cockatiel landed on a little boy’s shoulder in Newburgh, New York, and didn’t want to leave.

Sam Esposito didn’t know it, but the bird had been flying for four days and lost over a third of its body weight—so probably had reached the end of the line.

In fact a veterinarian later said that Cheesy likely would have survived only one more day in the wild, if it hadn’t been for the kind family in Orange Lake.

“We freaked out,” Sam’s father Michael told Good News Network, “because we were all sitting outside and the bird flew right near our heads.”

He noticed the coloring didn’t seem normal for a wild bird, and when it landed on Sam, they guessed correctly that it was an escapee.

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“We posted it on Facebook and a friend of ours 11 miles away knew the people in her town that had lost the bird four days previously,” recalled Michael. “Such a fun story for all of us.”

Michael Esposit (right) and his wife Amy (center) reunited ‘Cheesy’ with the family worried sick by the loss of their bird.

The owners from Cornwall, Michelle and Matt Napolitano, had offered a $1,000 dollar reward for its return, but the Esposito family told them to “just pay it forward.”

After the tearful reunion with their pet cockatiel, the Napolitanos sent surprise t-shirts they had created just for the Espositos, dubbing them ‘Cheese’s Hereos.’

(WATCH the beautiful reunion below…)


  1. So glad Cheesey made it home! Mine did not and I still miss him. P.S. No captive bird should be put in a round cage. Read up on and it and you’ll understand why. Kinder to put him in a rectangular cage.

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