I will be the first to admit that when I hung up the phone and readied myself for the journey out to the Zaksee bird sanctuary in Tampa I WAS NOT THINKING! No, I was simply going to check out “Magic” the bird whisperer, and his beautiful Macaws and Cockatoos, for our event in the park. His story intrigued me and, being an animal lover, I thought his sanctuary might be something we could support and that would also provide some “spokes-birds” for our event.
Let me just say, for those of you that might be considering checking out this Sanctuary, that high heels and sleeveless tops are inappropriate attire, if you don’t want to permanently plant yourself in the jungle or be carried away by mosquitos the size of parakeets, not to mention that a little cotton or a pair of good old ear plugs would be helpful.
For those of you who have not made the acquaintance of many parrots, I will tell you, they can be LOUD, sometimes bite, and tend to not be very good housekeepers, which reasons are probably what started this whole thing to begin with.
Now, parrots are beautiful smart birds, to be sure and some people are great bird parents but we’ve all known someone who, at one time or another, owned a parrot, then, when it cramped their style, had to give it up. But many of these birds can live to be 50 years or older, so where do they go when they’re not welcome in their adopted home anymore, when even Jimmy Buffet fans can’t be reached? A few of the lucky ones have come to Zaksee bird Sanctuary, the Florida equivalent of foster care for the parrot set, where they are welcomed and provided for by owner “Magic” Esmaeili.
The problem is, the sanctuary already has about 200 birds and turns away about 10 a day. Now math never was a strong suit of mine but that’s over 3600 birds out there
circling the block, looking for a new home. Can you say Polly wants a room?
Starting to see the problem? Yes, this is why Magic, started this sanctuary and why he has the goal to educate the public on the downside of parrot ownership — before Grandma buys that lovely blue and gold macaw for her 10 year old grand-daughter who will probably lose interest within the week. The sanctuary also needs more cages and an adoption program that will place the birds in long term homes with people who understand what duties will be required of parrot ownership.
You’ll see the caring for these animals is genuine and it’s very apparent when “Magic” bursts into a duet of “pretty bird” with one of his charges, that this is his passion. So, if you believe that responsible stewardship of these beautiful birds is something you’d like to support, give him a call. Your time would be welcome, so would your donations. But if you go, wear your sneakers and don’t skimp on the bug spray – mosquitos are not an endangered species!