April 15, 2013
What an absolute JOY it was to visit the Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary in January. I learned of this extraordinary sanctuary while doing estate planning for my five companion parrots. The moment I stepped foot on the property, I was struck by the beauty of the sanctuary and the peaceful, welcoming environment created for these Ambassadors of the Parrot Nation. I practice and teach the healing arts, and after touring the sanctuary, Pat Norton allowed me to play Native American healing flute for the birds and to participate in serving a client who was relinquishing their beloved male Indian Ringneck parrot to the sanctuary. I listened to joyful calls from a female Indian RIngneck parrot already living at the sanctuary to this new bird, and watched and played the flute while Pat introduced them. It was an amazing experience, as one bird welcomed the other as if she had been missing him her entire life! I witnessed Pat's incredible, comforting Presence and expertise as she talked to the family and the birds, creating for all of us a serene space of transition for family and parrot to a new life. After the family left, I walked the grounds and visited each flight. Then, Pat helped me through my fear of working with macaws by taking me into the macaw flight, and showing me how to feed them almonds. Once I overcame my fear, one by one, these beautiful macaws would land on my arms and take two almonds from my hand or the bucket I held containing these precious treats! I spent many hours at the sanctuary, witnessing the incredible compassion and love Pat, her family, and the volunteers have for all the birds. I left part of me at the sanctuary, knowing I had found the future home of my parrots and me, as my dream is to transition my birds to the sanctuary and volunteer there for the remainder of my life. I became a member of FEBS, and hope to return there permanently as soon as I can relocate. I am helping the sanctuary now by donations, and am so relieved to know that my family of five have the very best home awaiting them at FEBS. I am ever so grateful to have met Pat, whose loving presence and friendship is also helping me through the trials of being the sole caregiver for a family member with a chronic illness. You see, the love and concern Pat has for the parrots also extends to every living Being whose life she touches. She is a fantastic manager and business person, too, with a vision to expand the sanctuary so that more parrots and families like mine can be served in the future. I also participated in a matching funds program, which doubled the contribution I made to FEBS. I highly recommend FEBS as one of the Great Nonprofits in our country, and am deeply grateful to Pat and her staff for the loving work of their Hearts and Hands for our parrot companions.
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