On our way out of Key West, we stopped at a wild bird sanctuary (pictures of these beautiful creatures below).
It was right on the water, as is everything in the Keys, and it also had the same generous foliage that populates the area, and nestled among earth and water is one woman's whole life-mission--taking care of birds, rehabilitating those that are injured, and releasing them when they are well again.
If they cannot be rehabilitated, the sanctuary keeps them, feeds them, cares for them. In one case of an injured Ibis, it was noted on the wire mesh of the bird's large enclosure that wild Ibises came by daily to visit their Ibis friend. Dumb animals, huh? Not so much. The birds we encountered had an ancient wisdom in their eyes, and despite the fact that owls will actually eat other owls if push comes to shove, it's amazing to realize that they still manage to co-exist in a way our messed-up planet never will.
Outside the enclosures (I hesitate to use the word 'cage' because the wire mesh habitats were large and open and filled with toys for some of the birds, and special perches and baths for others) the birds who make their permanent homes in the Sanctuary had little write ups, with their names and favourite pastimes. (Gizmo is an African gray parrot who likes to eat popcorn. Fredrika is a green Amazon parrot who likes to hang out with the staff after work and initiate conversation; Pickles is a large white cockatoo who is mischievous and likes to do 'sound association' where he imitates sounds for fun, such as the "beep beep beep" of a truck backing up. Did you know parrots and cockatoos can live to be eighty? Junior is an owl who loves to take baths in the evening. Flip is an blue jay who arrived as a baby bird, victim of a cat. He loves to interact with guests.)
I know you'll think I am crazy, but reading these little 'bios' of the birds brought me to tears. Their little lives. Their little preferences for certain foods, for human companionship and help. Their trust in our lumbering, stupid species.
What would it say outside of my own enclosure? The same thing I muttered to the priest before Christmas? That I can't let things go? That I like to drink white wine with abandon and stay out too late on nights where I have to go to work the next morning? That someone talking during my favourite TV shows (NFL, American Horror Story) drives me INSANE?
Here is Carolyn, the Canadian chick you see in this enclosure.
She's a happy bird for the most part, except when she's not, and we have no idea how long her lifespan will be. Right now she is 39 years old and on some days still has no fucking idea what to do about her future. She prefers routine and is scared of change. She has all sorts of worries that she keeps in her head and takes out on occasion, one by one, another after another, and when she runs out of them she makes up more.
She likes to read the New Yorker, and lots of books, and hates to be disturbed when reading. She loves to run, and is a lone runner. Groups irritate her. She is not a joiner. She is an introvert for the most part and socially took a long time to make friends when young. She suffered extreme mortification when her high school English teacher asked her mother during a parent-teacher meeting if she had any friends (she had two at the time. Including her sister. She had just moved to the area).
I leave you with some pictures of these lovely creatures.
Run on donations only...
Free to come and go.
Ps. Blogger--I hate what you've done with the photo-adding now.