By Ozzy Rosales
During the month of August 2011, I drove out to The Oasis Sanctuary from San Diego, California. I was there not to volunteer or to visit the beautiful compound out in the Arizonan high desert wilderness for fun, interest, or leisure, but for the difficult relinquishment of my two beloved Eclectus Parrots, Luna (female) and Harley (male). I was in a tough financial spot and without any avenues for housing the three of us in a suitable place. I despaired due to the lack of options. The birds had been on The Oasis’ waiting list for some time and, luckily, they were finally able to take them in.
After dropping them off at the Sanctuary, I left very teary-eyed, but relieved that they would be cared for by loving and knowledgeable people; and also, that I would have the opportunity to visit them. I did so a few months later during Thanksgiving week. It was a joy to work; see Luna and Harley and all the other birds; enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings (notably the clear, shimmering star-filled night skies), and have Thanksgiving dinner with The Oasis team.
I make the trek out to Oasis as often as I can – usually once or twice a year. And every time I’m there, I see the great amount of work that goes into running such an organization: cleaning and scrubbing bowls, cages, floors; cutting up fruits and veggies; building and maintenance of structures; cleaning aviaries and other bird buildings and trailers; washing towels and many other jobs including those that have to do with operations, education, finances, etc. It’s incredible how much work the staff does. They literally work from sun up till sun down… and then some!
But as busy as the staff members are, rushing to get all the day’s chores done – especially feeding all the birds and other critters that live there – they always take the time to let their feathered friends know they are loved. They show their affection by sweet-talking them, giving them treats and toys, and in making sure they have as much of their physical and emotional needs met to the highest degree possible.
Luna and Harley could not be happier! They are housed in a nice, bright building that houses many other birds. Harley has formed a friendship with Patch, a male Eclectus like him. Harley likes Patch so much that he even feeds him whenever they hang out – an act of charity he previously offered exclusively to Luna. It’s really wonderful to see them making friends and doing well in their avian community. A loving and healthy social environment is very important for birds; and The Oasis Sanctuary provides it.
The Oasis Sanctuary is a place of hope which I look forward to visiting again. While visiting this wonderful place, volunteering, and helping out in any way that I can, I maintain my emotional connection with Luna and Harley, and other birds like Patch, who I could not help getting attached to. Having such connections with other members of the great “tribe of life” has added meaning to my life and increased my understanding in regards to the emotional and mental life of birds.