Tiki the toucan is a free bird after escaping the Flamingo Gardens wildlife sanctuary.
With mango season in full swing, you might see Tiki feasting on luscious golden fruit, underneath green-leaved canopies, as she evades captors trying to lure her back home.
The brightly-billed bird flew to freedom recently as a keeper cleaned her cage.
"Somehow it got past her and got out the door," said Mike Ruggieri, director of animal care at Flamingo Gardens in Davie. "It sat up in some trees close by and then started hopping from tree to tree."
And then she was gone. Tiki – known as a keel-billed, or rainbow-billed, toucan – had a full belly and couldn't be beckoned back with food, he said.
Flamingo Gardens got the exotic bird when her owner surrendered her late last year. Tiki had been living in a home where a fellow toucan kept beating her up.
A special permit is not necessary to keep birds like Tiki if they are born in captivity, Ruggieri said.
Keel-billed toucans are native to Central American countries such as Mexico, Guatemala and Belize, where a toucan like Tiki is the national bird. They typically eat fruits and the occasional insect. Tiki is about the size of a crow or a small hawk.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, keel-billed toucans were first reported in the wild in 1972 in Broward County and a decade later in Miami-Dade. Florida has no reports of the non-native bird breeding in the wild.
Beyond the distinctly colored beak, what are other signs Tiki may be near?
"Native wildlife screaming like they're in danger," Ruggieri said. "It could just be that bird there that they've noticed."
Tiki, who is about 2 years old, may be fighting off blue jays, crows or other birds curious about her, but she may also fall prey to bigger hawks or owls. And when the fruit-bearing season ends, she may have trouble finding food, he said.
Since her escape, it appears Tiki was most recently spotted at Rexmere Village, a Davie housing community about 3 miles away. Someone heard the bird's clatter and saw what was likely Tiki, but then lost sight of her.
Ruggieri says the best chance of catching the fugitive bird may be for Tiki to settle into someone's backyard, get comfortable there and perhaps be lured into a screened-in patio – or other enclosure – with fruits such as lychees or grapes.
"If it's bouncing around a lot, it's probably going to bounce into some trouble eventually," he said.
He hopes Tiki can be guided back home by the honking calls of flamingos and peacocks – her neighbors at Flamingo Gardens. If you see her, call Flamingo Gardens at 954-473-2955.
Ruggieri isn't too hopeful, though: Tiki is "probably enjoying life," he said.
This isn't the first time Tiki has gotten into mischief. Shortly after arriving at Flamingo Gardens after her owner gave her away, she was transferred to a butterfly conservatory in the Keys. When she was released there, she started to eat the butterflies.
Tiki was returned to Flamingo Gardens, where she had been the only resident toucan.
"We all loved Tiki from the very beginning," said Laura Wyatt, a curator at the wildlife sanctuary who helped rehabilitate the bird and cared for a damaged wing.
"Very smart ... she liked to play with balls and paper and liked to throw things around," Wyatt said. "She was playful, a lot of personality, very vocal; seemed to be thriving here."