Legacy of Grief: Parrot “Refuge” (Part 3)

“Surely this iniquity shall not be purged from you,
till ye die …”

6. Greed. Possession. Control.

The email message sent by the owner
in response to our anguished pleas for help,
was beyond any stretch of savage callousness
that we ever could have thought possible:

“This sanctuary provides a home for life
as stated in the mandate – not a temporary place
so that people can drop them off
and pick them up at their pleasure.”


Why not?

IF the concern is for the ‘happiness of the birds’
why would any “sanctuary” NOT bend over backwards’
to assist any owner in ensuring that their bird
– any bird – is in the best situation possible?

THIS is NOT ‘about the birds’.

The conduct of those connected with
The World Parrot Refuge
reveals that its mandate “for life” is about


“Home for Life” we understood, meant ‘life’
as opposed to the abuse and inevitable death
of an abusive confinement.

We would never have imagined that it meant
“a life sentence” confined, without human affection,
hygiene, or physical safety.

My wife and I were most certainly told,
in the beginning, that there were birds
present at the World Parrot Refuge
who were being boarded.
Under NO circumstances did we believe
that the birds that were within the confines
of that place would never again leave it alive.

Why would any LEGITIMATE sanctuary … NOT …
be willing to provide a temporary home … IF …
that sanctuary TRULY exists
for the benefit of the birds?

A “REFUGE” is a place where one
can be safe from danger or difficulty.

A “SANCTUARY” is a place where one
can be safe from pursuit or persecution.

For birds that are being battered, frightened,
abused or neglected by the lowest, savage form
of human life that does such things,
then – by all means – let there be such a place
as the World Parrot Refuge.

BUT WHERE a loving, kind, compassionate
human being regards it as a privilege
to bestow affection on a bird …
then there is no basis for that bird
needing “sanctuary” or “refuge” any longer.

It makes not one blind bit of difference
Why a bird was initially taken to the World Parrot Refuge:
whenever some caring human being
will gladly bestow the human love and personal attention
that a human raised, human-habituated bird
so desperately wants …

… that bird should be cheerfully and enthusiastically
placed in the loving care of those
who will make it a beloved member of their family.

And in this regard, the World Parrot Refuge
has nothing whatsoever to do
with the happiness of birds.

From our personal experience over eight years;
from the testimony of those who have worked there;
from the accounts of broken-hearted bird owners,

the true purpose of the World Parrot Refuge
has every indication – to our considered experience,
to be something far more sinister.
As the agony of those who have entrusted their birds
– and signed a form – will readily attest.

7. Chilling Realisation

We never once left our birds;
but constantly visited to assess their condition.

Visits in March, August and December were spent
cleaning and scrubbing cages and flights;
sweeping and mopping floors;
even bringing personal possessions from our home,
to sell in the attached ‘thrift shop’ …

all to make certain that our birds were content.

In 2008, posted signs began to appear
– on the walls, and on the Internet – announcing
the necessity, and availability of “Surrender Forms”
for anyone who wanted to leave a bird at the “refuge”.

A chill went through me as I remembered that
… I … had signed a form.

I could not rid myself of the overwhelming sensation
that I had been “conned”: that my conscience
had been manipulated – my confidence gained
by deception; our birds, stolen by deceit;
and both – dead …

all because I chose to think good – and not evil –
of someone.

Mature observation and discernment seemed
to indicate at that time, a fact which would be
most definitely revealed on the 22nd of June, 2014:
that – if any knowledgeable bird owner DARED
to question the increasingly degenerating conditions
and practices at the World Parrot Refuge,
they would be banned from the premises.

Rather than risk conflict with a by-now-evident tyrant
who would countenance neither help or advice from anyone;
rather than risk being banned from the place …
we exercised mature discretion
and kept a wary silence for the time being.
As long as the birds were bright-eyed
and well-fed … we were content.

We could never know that December of 2011
was the last time
that we would ever see Wallace.

Or that at the same time of year, Sarah, our Cockatoo
– in the … “care” … of this facility –
would have two of her toes bitten off.
And no one claimed to know how.

When any reasonable, Mature adult
leaves an animal under the oversight of any facility,
that there will be care and attention
for the welfare of the animal.

There is no care whatsoever
in this woman’s perverse notion of “the wild”.
And there is absolutely no attention.

The birds are nameless objects
thrown en-masse into a world of anonymity,
with no means of escape from danger, disease,
disfigurement, or death.

We did NOT leave our birds in this place
to have them mutilated.

And I loathe myself today that I did not take both birds,
on the very day I brought them –
and leave that contemptible place forever.

We immediately made our displeasure known
to the two vacuous subordinates now “in charge”
during the owner’s absence:

Seeing Sarah’s toes gone, I said that I was taking Sarah
to see a veterinarian. The reply chilled me:
“Well that would be up to [ the Owner ].”

Veterinary care for a savaged bird …
was ‘up to’ the Owner ?
Again, the threat of being ‘banned’ made me keep my mouth shut.
My disgust must have been plain though, since
Sarah was moved from the general populace
of the “intake area”.

Our return visit saw that she had been placed
into a glorified wardrobe that passed for the “Sick Bay”
– a foetid, air-less, cupboard-sized room
with a glass door containing a dozen birds
… no ventilation of any kind …
with running pus, clotted blood, and flies on cages,
food, and work-surfaces.

Our repugnance was evident.

From this repellent chamber of disease,
Sarah was relocated to a protected area
near the front entrance, removed from the
cloying, plague-like suppuration of “the hospital”,
as well as from further attack by larger, aggressive birds
in the main Prison Population.

She was in a safe place with the small birds
in the entrance hall where she would be able to see,
and greet, any arriving visitors.

While it never alleviated our disgust – or my conscience,
that our little cockatoo had been mutilated in the first place,
she was safe now;
but we would be watching her much more intently.

But as resolve to take our birds back to the security
and safety of our quiet country home grew,
we were confronted with an even greater alarm:

Wallace was nowhere to be seen.

[ continued in Part 4 ]