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NEWPORT BEACH : ‘Birdman’ Reunited With Stolen Parrots

The “Birdman of Newport Beach,” who was robbed of his parrots earlier this week, was reunited with the exotic birds Friday after the suspected thief decided to help get them back, police said.

Ski Meinschein, 63, recovered the parrots after a man telephoned him early Friday and told him he could retrieve them, police said. The unidentified man said he was a friend of a woman who had charmed Meinschein into letting her stay the night, then allegedly stole the birds while Meinschein was asleep.

The woman turned out to be a man. Police Sgt. Andy Gonis said Randy D. Waters, 22, of Newport Beach was arrested late Friday on suspicion of grand theft.

Waters and his friend led Meinschein to a bird store in Torrance where one of the parrots had been sold, police said. The unidentified friend told Meinschein that he felt sorry about the theft.

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Police said all four of Meinschein’s show birds, worth about $13,000 and including a 10-year-old scarlet macaw listed as an endangered species, were retrieved with the help of Waters.

After getting the birds back, Meinschein notified authorities.

Meinschein, a local showman who has used the birds to entertain tourists at the Newport Pier for the past 13 years, said the whole ordeal was troubling.

“All the time we thought we were talking about a female,” said the retired oil-field worker. “I guess it proves that I didn’t have any sexual contact with her, or it, or whatever.”

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Meinschein had told police the brightly colored birds were taken by a woman who befriended him Tuesday afternoon on the pretense of wanting a parrot she owned trained. The woman told Meinschein that her name was Amanda McKay. She did not have her bird on hand but displayed an intense interest in his parrots, Meinschein said.

After discussing parrot training techniques, the two went back to Meinschein’s apartment, where the woman offered to cook dinner, Meinschein said. Later, she convinced Meinschein to let her stay the night because she was too tipsy to drive.

When Meinschein woke up around 2 a.m., the parrots and the woman were gone.

Meinschein said he was just being nice to a female stranger and had no idea that she was really a man.

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Waters, who has shoulder-length hair and often uses a female alias, is also wanted in connection with the theft of a macaw in January, Gonis said.

Meinschein’s birds--two black and orange dusky lories named Firebird and Wildfire, a scarlet macaw, Rojo, who can speak more than 50 words, and a blue and gold macaw named Prince--were all in good condition. However, the wings on both lories were clipped, Meinschein said.

Waters is being held at the Newport Beach Jail until his arraignment Monday.


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