As I entered the birdie barn at the Landing, the unmistakable, sweet mumbles of Issey the umbrella cockatoo greeted me, quickly joined by Juan the nanday conure’s screech and blue front Amazons Mona and Jake’s throaty trills. I was finally able to meet (and feed!) the current residents of the adoption center, and I couldn’t have been happier. While others may dream of days at the beach or poolside for their summer getaways, I would be getting the opportunity to care for these amazing and resilient birds as they wait to meet their next family.
The Landing is located outside of Asheville NC and the mountain views are glorious. Each morning, Mary, (Resource Coordinator and caretaker at the property) and I worked to feed, water, and clean up after the parrots, which also included a pair of friendly Meyer’s parrots named Mango and Cricket, two delightful Congo African greys Casey and Igor, the May 2010 calendar birds, Timneh African greys Argo and Cacique, as well as Bebe, the blue and gold macaw. These parrots come from diverse circumstances, and are all looking for placement through Phoenix Landing.
Highlights of the week included a few afternoon training sessions, where Cricket the Meyer’s showed that a parrot never forgets. He performed a turnaround perfectly that he had learned at the STEP UP three-day weekend seminar held at the Landing in late April. Argo, Cacique and Juan were all masters of targeting in short order.
We traveled to Hickory, NC one day where Teri Rand and Lannie Ellison have been caring daily for the group of parrots from the Catawba shelter. These 18 birds have a beautiful donated space in an office complex. The birds came from horrific conditions, and are all thriving thanks to the dedication of Teri, Lannie, and other volunteers in the area. The parrots, which range from Bourke’s parakeets to blue and gold macaws, have large cages, lots of toys, and fresh food daily. They are well socialized and will make wonderful companions for a lucky family. The effort to support these birds has been huge, and much appreciated. Laura Ford, our MD Education Coordinator, recently visited and shared tons of toys and toy-making supplies for these birds as well as three container gardens. The generosity of our volunteers never ceases to amaze me.
I was also fortunate enough to be in town when Dr. Susan Orosz, our speaker from last October, came to see the new facilities. She kindly helped with beak and nail trims, and shared her encyclopedic knowledge of avian veterinary and alternative medicine with us. One especially helpful recommendation is the use of the herb Melissa to treat papiloma, a virus that causes internal and external growths on the bird’s vent and cloaca, found most often in wild-caught macaws.
This action-packed visit gave me insight into the huge efforts made by the many dedicated volunteers such as Ann and Mary who make the lives of birds better every day. Many thanks go to Bobbie Kerns as well, for giving me a ride down and back! I won’t soon forget the joyful noise of the many happy birds in the adoption center, the enthusiastic enjoyment of the misting shower I gave to the Timnehs and blue fronts one afternoon, or the wonderful friends and gracious hosts who made my stay so much fun. I was glad to get home to my birds and husband, but I hope to return often to this special place in the mountains.
For a slide show of my trip, see: