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Under My Wing Avian Refuge AKA Under My Wing AKA UMWAR

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Protection & Welfare, Animal Training, Animals, Bird Sanctuaries

Mission: PROVIDING HOME, REST, REFUGE, AND INDIVIDUALIZED CARE FOR LIFE. Under My Wing Avian Refuge exists to provide captive birds with individualized care, the companionship of a flock, and the opportunity to live out their lives in a safe haven dedicated to their well-being. We educate the public of the complex needs of parrots in captivity and the crisis facing them The parrot’s habitations are closed to the general public but opened by appointment for educational purposed only to both public and private schools. The Sanctuary is currently home to 100 captive abandoned parrots, retired from “pet” or “companion animal” or saved from our local animal enforcement organizations many of whom suffer long-term health and behavioral issues. The Sanctuary employs a fully integrated team of veterinarians and caregivers who provide high-quality care by using positive reinforcement and meet the needs of each bird in our care. Through education and public awareness, we seek to alleviate all animals suffering and help eliminate use of exotic birds as pets, their exploitation in show business and alleviate over-burdened parrot rescues by not emphasizing on the over rated adoption slogans for captive-bred birds due to the grown epidemic of bird abuse and hoarding scenarios all across our Country and beyond. Our vision’s readiness is crucial to animal welfare especially for the unwanted, abused, disabled, elderly and the parrots left to chance 10, 30, 50 years from now as well as; educating and preparing the youth, to care for the unwanted parrots lives that have a life expectancy to 80+ years of age, surpassing us and today's human generation. Under My Wing Avian Refuge is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.

Results: NEW BUILDING CONSTRUCTION IS COMPLETED! PART OF OUR MAJOR DEVELOPMENT PLAN Under My Wing has recently completed construction of a new building for the birds habitation. Although the birds have been moved in the new building enjoying their new environment. We continue with our development plan to improve, expand to build additional buildings and large outdoor flights aviaries. If you would like to participate by promoting, sponsoring, or investing in this exciting new project, please contact Paula N Ashfield for further details at 973-702-7770 or send an email to paula@undermywing.org Between 2007 and 2016 Under My Wing took in over hundreds of unwanted, neglected, abused and foreclosed property birds. Began networking and aiding NJSPCA on cases of animal abuse investigation and helped to resolve issues. We established programs such as; Pennies For Parrots and other existing programs in order to reach the population beyond the local community. The founder and husband purchased 10.5 acres in Wantage NJ to establish the future home of the sanctuary and have endowed the property to the organization. We have received the public support via donations and service from our community and other organizations over the years and recently to help us with opening land space and making the ground ready for new building construction. Please visit our fundraising page and see construction pictures and videos. http://www.undermywingavianrefuge.org

Geographic areas served: New Jersey and beyond

Programs: http://www.undermywing.org/programs.html

Community Stories

23 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donald A.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I adopted a Blue and Gold macaw named Sandy from Under My Wing Avian Refuge. I'm more than happy to echo the chorus of praises for this wonderful organization, the founder Mrs. Paula N. Ashfield and the entire staff of volunteers. The facility is HUGE since it sits on 10.5 acres. I was impressed with the unconditional love and commitment for the parrots that they have under the care. Their health, mental and emotional well being seems to come first and foremost. I encourage you to visit them and learn more about their mission to help, care and love the unwanted and abused avian children.

Review from Guidestar

Barbara261

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been to the sanctuary and have just started to volunteer because of the love and care that is shown to these beautiful creatures. Paula knows each by name, their history and was so impressed by the love that ALl of the birds give her back. The best of food is given and the toys that are provided are tremendous! There IS plenty of room for these birds and it is cleaner than pet shops that only have a few birds! They area is always spotless!Her heart is in this 200%.
For those who want to knock her down is unfair and unjust!

Melissa291

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love this sanctuary. The birds are so well-loved and taken care of. It makes me happy to volunteer there when I can. Paula is a pleasure to be around, birds know when they are truly loved and you can just see how they light up when you socialize with them. Paula knows all her birds by name and it makes me happy to see them happy! :)

Client Served

Rating: 5

Great sanctuary for birds. Very caring professional staff that really cares for their avian friends.

Donor

Rating: 5

I've researched a few other avian non-profits and UMWAR is by far the best out of all of them. The owner, Paula Ashfield answered all my questions and inquiries, in person, by phone and by e-mail and educated me on how she runs her Refuge. I had spoke to other avian rescues who avoided my questions, and they actually got annoyed when I asked about long term plans. Ms. Ashfield is completely honest and straightforward to any inquires and invited me on a number of occasions to visit, which I did. Not only that, she treats EACH and EVERY rescue as if it were her own personal pet. They are all in good, loving and caring hands. The birds are all very well cared for and the surroundings are kept clean and they are well fed and very well tended to. It takes a special and dedicated person to do this kind of work and she is truly an advocate for the avian world. I fully trust and admire the work she has done. This is an excellent non-profit.

Mary372

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I recently went to visit this organization as I have with a few others and I truly was impressed. They do a wonderful job in keeping the birds well cared for. The people were contagious and friendly. I have chosen to contribute funds to help with the many expenses this sanctuary is faced with. I only wish I could donate more, they truly deserve it.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have just meet Paula. In my opinion she does a fantastic job with these birds. A lot of them have very sever medical issues. Instead of letting them die she does everything possible for them. I would love to be there and help but I live in another state. She also has very strict guide line for adoption. Which I do agree with! We all need to help this lady for the birds. I could not imagine that there were so many neglected and abused birds in this area. This just breaks my heart. She has given up most of her home for them. Her time and money. If this is not love for birds I do not know what is ? This is for Paula . Their is always someone who is going to bad mouth you. Just keep up what you guys are doing and do not pay attention to these people.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I met the people of Under My Wing in my search for a place for my 28 year old client who has special needs to volunteer. After speaking to the executive director and visiting with my client I was very impressed. The facilities are kept clean, the birds are not only cared for but nurtured and vet checked. The director does an amazing job giving each bird the time and attention it needs. The director was very generous with us and taught my client and I to feed the birds, interact with them, and make toys for them. The refuge and those who run it are nothing short of dedicated, loyal, sacrificial of their time, and just honest and real!!!

The on site director has incredible instincts and is a bulldog and protector in regard to the ethical treatment and respect that these beautiful creatures deserve. She has very clear and strong opinions that she doesn't hide which I believe to be the direct cause of some of the reviews from folks that are in disagreement and seek to discredit her. I believe there is no safer place for a bird. The ASPC was recently there because of an unwarranted complaint and saw there was no just cause and left.

Remember that anyone (even me) can write a review for or against any organization on this site and the only real and full proof way of finding out about them is to visit. There are many wonderful birds up for adoption and others that will never be able to be placed for various reasons. Please contact the refuge and discover for yourself what the goal, philosophy, and future vision is for the Under My Wing Avian Refuge, which was established in 2007 in honor of a bird named Aldo.

Review from Guidestar

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 3

My interactions with Under my Wing have been online and mostly on facebook. I have found, over the years, that it pays to be nice to people, even if you may not agree with them. I don't think it's appropriate to insult, criticize or simply make up lies about other rescue or people who relinquish their pets just to further your cause. You only hurt yourself. I believe that Under my Wing is causing others to shy away from them by talking badly about other rescues and they are losing support. In the end, only the birds will suffer. Public perception of the owners and operators can make or break a rescues efforts to succeed. This is not to say that the quality of care the birds receive is below standard, because I don't know. I believe they are cared for properly.. but in order to maintain that level of care, you must have supporters and you must actively seek out these supporters, not cause them to turn away because of drama.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

To anyone reading this review.

I challenge you to visit the sanctuary and you are not able then visit Under My Wing on Facebook www.facebook.com/umwar

I have volunteered for many different shelters and rescues over the years, so I have a decent basis of comparison and Under my Wing does everything they can (with the limited resources that a non-profit has) to provide the best quality of life for their birds. Paula and other volunteers who I personally work with do an awesome job in keeping the place spotless with the amount of birds here.

Just imagine this “one parrot will poop every fifteen minutes, that adds up, it also destroys toys and spatters food everywhere, now imagine 100 of them doing this.”

Can’s find one picture of the daily and weekly posts on facebook or anywhere else that will show Under My Wing can’t take care of their birds. The place is always clean and disinfected, much more than I can say about other rescues or stores for that matter.

At Under My Wing sweeping and mopping gets done two or more times a day. Paula insists that the cage is moved so we can sweep under the baseboard heaters.

Cages are wiped from dust and food particles, walls are wiped as well at least once a day. Food and water is changed two to three times a day.

Most volunteers and visitors get to handle the birds. If these birds were neglected as some may like to think how is it that they can be friendly with new people?

Most rescues unlike Under My Wing will also care more about what people see in a bird cage rather than what they don't see such as posting pictures birds with lots of toys, but they don't show how many hours the birds are left alone as if toys will compensate for their interaction with the birds. At Under My Wing Paula along with us who volunteer handle the birds daily, Paula especially plays, preens and gives them full bathing, she has more interaction with the birds here than some people do in their home just having one bird.

Let me also just note that most rescues will feed their birds whatever is donated or cheap food and lots of black sunflower seeds. Not at Under My Wing. We feed Harrison Bird Food, Volkman seeds, fresh fruits, veggies and treats like Nutriberries and whole nuts.

The bird rooms, space is quite sufficient but all rescues can use more space.

Under My Wing is not compatible to any other parrot rescue in NJ or its surrounding States except maybe with Forster Parrot in RI


1 Dennis G.

Donor

Rating: 5


Last year my Rocco passed she was an African grey, when I first got him from a private person she had a growth on her nose, if it wasn't for Paula from under my wing she would have died, she did die of cancer but I had a wonderful 2 years with her last year when she passed that day I went to Paula she comforted me I had tears in my eyes, I was so heart broken. Paula told me when I was ready that she had an African grey that I could adopt well I now have adopted Molly and Gabe And they are wonderful Molly is the talker she is so funny you never know what she comes out with, Gabe is the sweet hart he loves people. Paula gave me the chance to adopt these wonderful birds. I recommend under my wing and Paula, the support she gives these and all her birds are a gift and god will reward her. Thank you Paula

3 Machelle P.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

In all of the years I have known this rescue, since 2005, I have always known the founder, Paula to be very conscientious about all of her decisions in the care of the animals and the management of the rescue as well as the funds for the non-profit foundation. Nothing but the best of intentions and the most cautious of actions are carried out at this rescue. I personally advised Paula when she was just beginning her rescue and encouraged her to obtain her 501c3 designation because I believed in her abilities. I still believe in her today.

Review from Guidestar

3 Lauren53

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Under My Wing in one form or another since 2009. I have seen nothing but love, passion, dedication and hard work from Paula Ashfield (founder and director) for the birds in her care since day 1. Her whole life revolves around the well-being of all the birds at the sanctuary. From sunrise to sunset she is cleaning the birds cages, food/water dishes and the rooms they reside in, grooming the birds, playing with and providing attention to the birds, etc. as well as recruiting volunteers to help at the sanctuary and raising funds to help pay for supplies and vet care. She is a wonderful person and she runs an amazing sanctuary. Anyone that says otherwise does not really know what they are talking about. Please continue to support Under My Wing in anyway you can, whether it be your time as a volunteer or a monetary or supply donation, it all helps and is much deserved!

3

Client Served

Rating: 1

I have been involved in animal care facilities and rescues my entire life. I have never been more appalled by the inadequate care that this rescue provides. Under no circumstances can 2 people provide the proper care and social interaction for over 100 exotic birds. Nor is there enough space in a BASEMENT of a normal sized house. Many birds share cages which has proven dangerous and deadly.

Updated 7/1/:
Received the following message from Paula last night: Regarding your profile which I saw on GreatNonprofits.org:

I don't believe you have the correct information. We do not run a sanctuary with only 2 people. Our bird area and rooms is over 2500 sq ft in addition to 12x 27 ft enclosed porch.

If you have never been to our refuge you may consider applying for a visitor's pass, we will be glad to send you an application and make an appointment.

Kindly revert or change your review to reflect accurate information.

Thank you!

from paula@exoticbirdsrefuge.org

My response:
Thank you for inviting me to "apply" for a visitors pass, but I have in fact already been to your facility and what I saw was horrifying.

According to public records the entire home is only 2,210 sqft, therefore the basement alone cannot be 2,500 sqft. There were maybe a half dozen birds in the enclosed porch, therefore leaving about 100 birds in an approximately 1000sq ft basement. If anyone can explain to me how 100 birds in 1000 sqft is ok, I would be glad to listen. Thank you.


3 DebbieH

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful and very professional organization who is serving a much needed service in the area. They go above and beyond expectations in their care of the birds as well as the people that place their parrots there. In time of need you can always count on their help and expertise. An organization well worth supporting.

Review from Guidestar

3 Yahaira N.

Client Served

Rating: 5

When I first met paula and I was amazed at how much time and dedicatio she provides all of the birds and fefuge. She does not rush from one person to get to the other. I adopted my amazon Dungee close to a year now and I couldn't have asked for a better bird. She first analyzed my entire family before she went and got the best bird that best fifilled our needs. Upon doing research on bird diets I was very happy to see that she only feeds them the best bird food money can buy and even grows fresh fruits and vegetables in their own backyard.... how cool is that. I'd recommend this refugee to anyone who is seriously considering adopting.

Review from Guidestar

3 Eo M.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been in contact with Paula Ashfield for a couple of months. I made the difficult decision to relinquish my blue & gold Macaw. She encouraged me to research and speak with other sanctuaries. I am looking for a placement close enough for me to be able to visit my bird.
After visiting Paula's refuge, it is very clear to me that she has an extreme passion for her mission. She dedicates every waking moment to her birds. It is amazing, the connection and the knowledge she has for her flock.
She has given me an abundance of support during my process. She has offered me many, many hours of guidance, through visitation and social media communication and keeps in touch with me to see how my decision is going. No pressure only concern. She understands that this is very difficult process and I know she is always in the wings, waiting to assist in any way. Her door is always open and she strongly encourages visits. She understands and nurtures the bond between bird and owner.
I would not hesitate for an instant placing my bird with Under my Wing Refuge. She is very open and transparent. Through social media, you can see the inner workings of the sanctuary, which is a great comfort.

Review from Guidestar

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Addressing Tammy Best review for Under My Wing and my personal review of Under My Wing Avian Refuge :

Dear concerned reviewer Tammy Best,
I am sorry but Under My Wing has not addressed your questions or has not received your inquiry on a timely fashion. Your post does not specify the manner of your communique with Under My Wing nor the date of such which I believe makes this very mysterious.

As one of their volunteers who address most requests I can assure you it has not crossed our desk. Please feel free to contact Paula or one of the Board Members directly via email info@exoticbirdsrefuge.org should you have any additional questions we can help you with.

Most of these answers are listed on our website and our Facebook page under about us section. However, to make it simple I personally am addressing your question here in my review of Under My Wing Avian Refuge.

Answers to the questions in your review:

1. Are the birds vetted?
Yes, all the birds that enter Under My Wing are vetted. Vets we use: Dr. Todd Wolf of Companion Animal Hospital in Parsippany NJ, Dr. Micheal Ramieri of Advanced Animal Care in Franklin, NJ who is also our in-house veterinary and conducts two general checkups on the birds twice a year, • Under My Wing has also utilized Highland Animal Hospital in Sparta NJ as well as Dr. Pompton Lakes Animal Hospital.

How are you funded?
• Under My Wing is publicly funded

What are your adoption requirements?
• Our requirements are listed on our website as well as in our adoption application; please feel free to ask for one via email.

Fees?
• Under My Wing has no set adoption as most rescues or stores do according to size of bird as listed in our adoption application. We are a sanctuary for exotic birds and a donation is required to support one of the permanent residents of the same size bird they adopt. This tax deduction giving depends on their affordability and the bird of choice and its particular needs.

What type of food do you provide?
• The food provided for the birds at Under My Wing are high quality food from companies such as: Harrison Bird food, Lafeber Volkman and Zupreem for smaller birds. In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables, some cooked foods. Our cost of food is over $20,000 per year and yes we purchase all dry food on wholesale.

Do the birds get daily attention?
• Most definitely

Can you give references of other people in the field that support you?
• I believe there are too many people to list. However our updated website will have a list of our benefactors, non voting and voting members, supporters and volunteers.

Tammy Best,
The answers you gave in the “Ways to make it better” leads readers to assume that you are preferring not to deal with Under my Wing but have a possible rescue in the field you would rather promote. I am sure that Under My Wing applauds your efforts. However discrediting Under My Wing's reputation will unlikely help us be less transparent or prevent us from conducting our good works for both parrots and people.

Again please, feel free to contact Under My Wing directly via email should the need arise.

My review of Under My Wing Avian Refuge

I am delighted to spend my time helping such a wonderful organization. I admire their work and I love the birds.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

I have ask many questions of this rescue and have never gotten any answers to my questions. Are the birds vetted? How are you funded? What are your adoption requirements? fees? What type of food do you provide? Do the birds get daily attention? Can you give references of other people in the field that support you? All my questions have been avoided. HUGE red flags. Very unsure about this rescue. Time will tell.

Review from Guidestar

3 Henri B.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have adopted my two birds from Under My Wing Avian Refuge and I cannot give them enough praise. Paula is just a wonderful person doing wonderful things!