birds

All posts in the birds category

Parrot Life

Published March 21, 2017 by sarcasmica

Birds were never in my plan. Animals, yes, birds specifically, notsomuch.

My “life plan” (chuckle chuckle chuckle) was to flounder in community college for a little while before sticking with the sign language interpreter program. Once I mastered that, I would go to Moorpark College in Simi Valley, CA and work as an interpreter while simultaneously studying in their exotic animal training and management program. In order to study in the program, you also have to work at the college zoo. The only block I had was how to get through all the bug stuff. I hate bugs. HATE. I can appreciate their role in an ecosystem and yes I understand how important they are blah blah blah, but handling them?! No.

Blech. I can’t.

Anyway, I got as far as my interpreter program. I didn’t even complete that. See, my step mother was the interpreter coordinator for the campus in addition to a teacher in the department. (That is how she and my dad met and later married) My last semester I had a class that is only offered once/year at only one time. I was at the end of my last semester in the three year program when my dad died. Being as how I was the only offspring of either side to help my stepmother make arrangements, get through the awful tragedy, and deal with the hurricane of tedium you have to deal with when a loved one dies, school suffered a bit. I still made it to my final roughly a week after the funeral… the funeral my teacher for the same class attended along with most of the department and all my past and present instructors.

Guess who failed the class? Yup. Moi. I wasn’t expecting a free pass, I wasn’t expecting an A, but can you really not help someone out in that scenario? Really?! Can you honestly not offer some kind of counseling on the side or advice? Just F, done, buh bye, sorry for your loss.

Anyway, I was bitter after this happened, naturally. I also was connected through my step mother with my first signing job in Irvine at a high school. I moved to Irvine and could not manage the 2 hour rush hour commute for the one hour class back in Torrance, either. I just let it go.

Anyway, that job and that city led me to Arizona and another job and then got married and had a kid and life and yada yada yada. Long story short, I never made it to Moorpark College.

In my early 20’s while still in school, a friend of mine was a manager at Petco. She offered me a job as a Bird Specialist and I’d be in charge of the department – ordering, feeding the babies, caring for the cages and animals, stocking, etc etc. I took it knowing any knowledge needed I’d have to research myself since they do not have any sort of extensive training for this. I loved it. It was sad – seeing the state they were delivered in from breeders – but it was also gratifying – being able to educate people on a pet. I was absolutely astounded at how many grown people have a fear of birds. Kids would readily go into the bird room while their parents stood outside shaking their heads and twitching at the thought of wings coming at their face. (a common fear, apparently)

Anyway, I suppose that’s where the seed was planted. Ironically twenty years later I’m working the other side of the pet industry. It’s exactly opposite, actually, right down to me volunteering and not getting paid to care for the birds that people could not for a million and eighteen reasons commit a lifetime to. It’s so rewarding that there’s about 65 volunteers that the sanctuary heavily relies on for feeding/cleaning/food prep/grooming. I’m always impressed with the volunteers that balance this work with a paying full time gig. There are students, retirees, unemployed (moi) but we all, I think, look forward to our time there helping out.

Everyone has their niche. Some people like the cage work; cleaning and feeding. Some people like the massive open flight area. Some like the rooms and some don’t even interact with the birds. They handle food only. My happy place is the room. I have one room where I’ve learned about 70% of the birds names and know them fairly well. I don’t handle many because, quite frankly, I’ve seen enough bites to not be excited by that happening. I’ve had only one bad bite that’s left a scar, but like most stories of bites it was my own fault. I took a bird out and she didn’t want to return to the room when I needed her to. Instead of getting a perch, I kept insisting she step up on my arm and after repeatedly pushing back with her beak, she finally gave me a good clear chomp. … then I got the perch. Duh.

Funny enough two of my favorite birds reside in rooms completely different than my favorite. I don’t hold it against them, though 🙂

Anyway, I don’t know if I’ll ever get to fulfill my wish of actually working and interacting with wild exotic animals for a job, but truthfully my kids and these crazy parrots seem to be filling my heart. So while I figure it out, I’ll just keep taking pictures and hope people enjoy them.

DSC_0082.JPG

Merlot

DSC_0071.JPG

Coco

DSC_0117.JPG

Sugar

DSC_0129.JPG

Zephyr

DSC_0193.JPG

Junior (i think)

DSC_0061.JPG

Willy

 

Advertisements

Stunned (Re: Bird Letter)

Published September 14, 2015 by sarcasmica

My post Bird Letter has received nearly a thousand views in 2 days.

1,000.

(Update: 2500 in 3 days ?!?! Wow!!)

Holy crap! What this number actually means in completed views, purposeful clicking, actual interest, thoughtful consideration, I have no clue. I just know it’s actually been shared and passed around a bit and i’m so stunned and thankful for that.

My hope is that it simply starts a conversation. Begins some serious contemplation. I am not one to tell someone what to do or what not to do, but at least if I have put this out there, the person who has read it and still goes through with a transaction through a breeder has no reason not to be surprised or claim ignorance for some of the reality of bird ownership.

I would like to think I keyed a thoughtful non-judgmental post about the possibility of considering where something has originated and if a home is a good fit for these animals. I did not include clips of screaming macaws and amazons. Let me tell you, the decibel they can reach is literally deafening. At the risk of an overused word lately, the “literal” is literal.

I have been in a room where a truck drives by, a person walks past, or rain starts and the screaming squawking flapping chaos that ensues is stunning. There are a number of volunteers that have to wear ear plugs. And not because they aren’t used to birds.

I have worked down the hall from a pair of amazons that begin before the food bowls are swapped out, and don’t end until all the containers are closed up and the doors are shut. A non-stop scream that is reciprocated and answered between the two of them for sometimes over an hour. This does a number on one’s nerves, and i’m only there for a couple of hours a couple of times a week. I could not imagine waking up to that noise!

I did not include pictures of bites from all the varying beaks owned by these parrots. I have heard enough stories from the incredible volunteers I work with who have had to go back and face down the very beaks that ripped open their hands/wrists/arms requiring stitches.

It makes me want to shut my mouth when a Grey bites a bruised bump into my hand … which happened last week. I’m working through my anxiety in working with the ones you cannot ‘read’, which is 98% of them since i’m still fairly new to the sanctuary.

Those beaks can do serious damage. A Google search will prove that in .3 seconds. The bites are from pets. Trusted birds, in a lot of cases. Now imagine your toddler playing with the family bird, and the possibility of this happening. They do not have a way of telling you something is ‘off’, they only have their instinctual behavior.

Thank you to anyone who appreciated my point of view, and I hope it made a difference.

Through Open Lens

Home of Lukas Kondraciuk Photography

The Minivan Princess

for mommies who like to read and share funny sh*t

bmaryglaser

i forgot the rules

jenny's lark

the beauty of an ordinary life

nappies + milk

moms spilling the beans

The Adventures of Fanny P.

...because life is just one big adventure...

The Cheergerm & the Silly Yak

The life and times of a cheergerm

The Nicki Daniels Interview

mostly awesome, most of the time

%d bloggers like this: