Saturday at the Sanctuary
It was satisfying to see all the work that has been done since the last time we were able to attend a work part. There is a small bird building that’s finished and another for the Grey’s that is almost finished, only the flight pen is left undone. The conure (also Quaker, mini-macaw and who knows what in the end) building is the biggest and furthers from finished of the buildings. When finished, it will have flights on three sides, a kitchen and a garage door so they can drive in and load up food and supplies. Bob has big plans and always has projects underway.
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It might have started out as a macaw sanctuary but now they house cockatoos, conures, cockatiels, amazons, parakeets, rosellas, Indian ring neck parrots, lovebirds and many more species. It is intended as a place for birds to go that are not suitable for pets or have no other place to go.
Often they are the result of poor breeding, rearing, training, handling, wild capture, abuse or trauma. Other reasons for birds being there seem a little less rock solid to me. Some are there because they hurt or killed other birds they were housed with or because they became jealous of a new baby, intimate partner or bird in a way that the owners couldn’t deal with. Those might be hard situations but the bird could still be a good pet in another home. Also more confusing for me, many birds are there because their owners think that they are doing “right” by their birds to put them in a sanctuary instead of rehoming even if they are an excellent pet. I feel there are many birds there who should have been sent to a rescue. By filling the sanctuary with birds who could live happily as pets there is less room for the ones who really need to be in the sanctuary. Birds who, by no making of their own, are euthanized if they don’t find their way into a sanctuary.
My time at the sanctuary always makes me thoughtful. I remember the first time I visited a women saying that as long as she was part of the problem she had to be part of the solution. At the time I didn’t understand what she meant. How was she part of the problem, she was a good parrot owner, wasn’t she just part of the solution? I now see that the issue is much more complicated. I can’t explain what she meant very well but I have come to understand that I too am part of the problem. As long as there are parrots, or any other creature in captivity for that matter, their will always be birds who end up in sanctuaries. As long as unfortunate events happen to people who mean well and normally do right leaving them unable to care for their animals there is a need for sanctuaries and rescues. As long as out of date animal husbandry practices are followed there will be a need for rescues and sanctuaries. As long as imperfect humans share their life with imperfect animals we will need sanctuaries and rescues.
Does that mean that I think we should turn loose all our domestic and captive animals and stop breeding their kind? No. what I mean is that as long as there are people who love to share their lives with other animals they need to help be part of the solution. We have an obligation to educate others about good breeding, care, feeding and training practices as well as support rescues and sanctuaries.
By the time we left we were exhausted and I had a headache, my own fault for not bringing a big enough lunch. It’s always hard work but so rewarding to know we are helping the Dawson’s help the birds in their care now and in the future. The sanctuary is only open to the general public once a year; for their annual benefit auction and barbeque. We were not able to attend last year ( AJ had just broke his hip a little over a week prior and was just starting his long bed-rest) but we have it on good authority that the food, people, auction items and atmosphere are great. The only other way to visit this awe inspiring place is to volunteer your skills, labor, time, money, love and energy. If you still want to help but are unable to come to a work party please consider making a monetary donation. It is costly to run a sanctuary so any amount would be greatly appreciated!
There are work parties almost every weekend sometimes Sunday and Saturday leading up to the barbeque. The rest of the years they are fewer and farther between because many of the volunteers also run rescues and well we all have lives of course! Well, sort of, anyway. This time we put siding on one whole side of the conure building and cut roofing for half of the conure aviary. Getting a side of the conure building finished really gave me a sense of the buildings size and the full potential of the sanctuary.