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People create online community, Facebook page around feathered friend Mouth

COURTESY PHOTO - On June 25, Sandy resident Sarah Rittmann posted this photo of Mouth with her daughter at Fred Meyer. Usually in July, the most noteable character around town is the Mountain Festival bear. But with the festival canceled this year, the community has found a new character to rally behind: Mouth the starling.

Mouth was discovered on a farm operated by the Hawkins family of Sandy. The young bird likely fell from its nest and was abandoned by his mother while still too young enough to have feathers.

Trisha Hawkins rescued the baby bird, took him home and raised him until he could leave the nest and fly on his own. She assumed care for the bird, making her home, his.

"I got on YouTube and started researching bird rescues and how to care for a baby bird," Hawkins said. "We named him Mouth because his beak was bigger than his head when he was little, and I — like many Oregonians — am a fan of 'The Goonies.'"

Hawkins and others refer to Mouth as a he, even though they're not quite certain of the bird's gender.

This was Hawkins' first venture into raising a bird. She had a good example to follow, however, since her grandfather used to rescue and raise birds all the time while she was growing up.

Mouth became a member of the family. It wasn't long before he was flying all around the house. Hawkins said her children weren't always fans of Mouth's antics, but they have missed seeing him since he left the nest.

COURTESY PHOTO - Walter Callahan visits with Mouth on occasion, usually bringing treats along for the starling to enjoy. Callahan is the father of Hawkins' boyfriend. "He was generally kind of a pest, but I loved him," Hawkins explained. "Once he started flying around, he wanted to go outside, and he would always come back. After a week of flying, he started sleeping outside and then he was gone longer and longer."

One day, when Hawkins hadn't seen Mouth for a while, she took to Facebook to ask if anyone in town had seen him. An online community soon formed called The Adventures of Mouth. More than 930 people are now following the social media group to keep up with Mouth.

"Someone said a little gray bird had flown into their car," Hawkins said. "Then (the online comments) just kind of blew up. It's been great to see people's photos. He's been gone now for a couple of weeks."

Mouth mostly hangs out around Fred Meyer and Meinig Memorial Park, making an occasional appearance at places like Country Coffee to socialize with customers while they wait for their morning jolt. Many a shopper has posted photos of Mouth sitting with them in the parking lot as they're either entering or leaving the store as well.

COURTESY PHOTO - Mouth became very people-friendly and like a member of the Hawkins family in his time at the Hawkins residence. "Everybody has just loved seeing the pictures," Hawkins said. "Mouth really loves people. I think he likes the attention. I'm glad everybody has been so good to him. I think they really wanted something good to tune into."

To follow The Adventures of Mouth, visit the Facebook page.


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