(NEW YORK) — Cherie Morales spent her 55th birthday on Sunday roaming the streets of her Colorado neighborhood, looking and listening for signs of her parrot, Matisse.
On Wednesday, the retired New York City cop returned home to find the door to her 12-by-16-foot aviary had been opened.
Once inside, Morales discovered a horrific scene: Five of her rare Greater Vasa parrots had been killed, three of them by decapitation.
“The three birds who were the sweetest of all of them had their heads ripped off from the neck,” she said. “Their wings were pulled off. These birds had been brutalized past that.”
David Lewis, who is Morales’ neighbor, helped her pick up the bodies.
“One of the first things I saw was a head of one of the birds lying on the ground and feathers everywhere,” he said. “It was really gruesome … like the aftermath of a war scene.”
Two African gray parrots were in the aviary and unharmed, Morales said. She said she believes someone deliberately targeted the Greater Vasas because everyone knew they were her favorites.
The surviving two Greater Vasas escaped, however one returned.
Matisse is still missing, but Morales said she has heard his bird call and believes he is still in the area.
“These birds are so easy, so trusting,” Morales said. “I have always prided my house on being a sanctuary for whatever person or critter need to come in.”
A $1,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest. Anyone with information is asked to call the Adams County Sheriff’s Office.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Tal Kopan and Jeremy Diamond, CNN
Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
Jim Acosta, Dana Bash and Tal Kopan, CNN