Thursday, November 20, 2008

Recent California Fires and Parrots

As many of you know and some of you have lived through, there have been devestating fires in the beautiful Santa Barbara Area (and others).

November 14, 2008
Phoebe Linden of the Santa Barbara Bird Farm had to evacuate with her birds. Below is some of her story... Are YOU prepared for a disaster?

We evacuated 6:30 - 7pm last night and got everyone out. Praise God.

It was sooooo scary -- one moment, a pillar of flame, the next moment, conflagration. There was no doubt we had to get birds out NOW.

People showed up with trucks and carriers and we were gasp actually prepared, too. Jamie from SBBSanctuary came with large macaw carriers at EXACTLY the moment we ran out of big ones and were getting ready to put macaws in heavy-duty cardboard boxes.

We first evacuated to Barbara and John's house by Old Coast Rd and Salinas -- just got all birds in to a safe and clean garage and at 11:30, we were ordered to evacuate again. Only now, no Harry -- he snuck back to the house in the van to watch stuff. So while Barbara and John evacuated their stuff, I loaded all 60 birds into any car I could find and took off again. Last count, we had five cars full of stuff and 4 drivers, so the car with non-parrots was left behind. (yes, it was the Woodie but surprisingly, Harry was fine with that!). (It didn't burn)

We came to the Kim3 furniture showroom at 1 N. Calle Cesar Chavez and Barbara, John, parrots and Ph H stayed the night. It is really nice here -- comfy beds with fine linens, a fully stocked kitchen, bath -- Josserlynn said "hello" all night, Garcia wanted to know if we were OK, etc. The birds are wonderful. Lost a couple of feathers and Harry got a few bites in the heat (no pun intended) of the moments, but everyone ate this morning.

The fire guys won't let us back yet, but I snuck back and saw the house -- safe. But we can see burned houses from every window. Back, front, side - burned and still burning houses everywhere. Don't get me started on the soot.

Harry is hosing down the aviaries and we hope to get everyone back home within the next few hours where they can bathe, stretch their wings and re-adjust.

I'm trying to keep everyone updated but will appreciate you letting people know.

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers, esp re: respiratory issues which can surface years later.


November 17th, 2008
Dear Friends,

So many of you want to help to Harry and me as we begin the arduous task of cleaning up after the fire. Thank you!!

Even though everything is covered in soot, we take our cue from Percy Lou and the 47 other safe parrots: sing while cleaning. We are sooooo happy to have a home and to be home.

The one most important thing everyone can do -- well, two things -- first, be prepared yourselves! Second, please make a donation to Jamie McLeod's SB Bird Sanctuary ( Any amount is welcome! (Hopefully, they'll get some new emergency carriers with the funds! :) Also, they are caring for many displaced parrots right now!

(all donations are tax deductible!!)

So, the flames are towers roaring down the mountain headed smack towards our back yard. Our friends* are prepping carriers but Harry and I don't know if we have enough time.

A part of my brain is wondering, will I have to decide who to take and who to leave? The columns twirl in the wind. Smoke and ash smack us as we work. Lots of the birds hurry right in to their carriers: they've got the whole "emergency" message!

I load Josserlynn and Garcia in the van, turn, and see out of the smoke,

Jamie McLeod.

Ohmygoddessgoodness, Jamie. The relief I feel -- she's got carriers and she's moving fast -- is overwhelming even now.

The moment I saw Jamie I knew we had a chance to get everyone out. **

Right behind Jamie is Jodi, sister terrific. Linda Wudl! God bless you, bless you, bless you.

Jamie is right - it was a hellish night, but seeing those angels in the smoke provided the yin to the yang.

Please consider opening your heart and wallets to support the selfless work of the Santa Barbara Bird Sanctuary, a not for profit 501c3 organization where parrots find a flock and much, much more. Any amount is appreciated.

Jamie, Jodi, Linda -- you are my heros! I am full of gratitude for you and confident that your good works will continue and that support will come for you -- as it did for me -- out of smoke and ash.

with love,

*friends on the spot: Barbara and John who stayed throughout, Arnulfo our son/brother, Patty Keller an angel, too, Hiladio the strong and his helper. Elly and Michael!

** Many who know me know that I *always* say, If I had to give an injection to a rhino, I'd want Jamie to be helping me. Her competence is amazing, friends. Just amazing -- this woman can accomplish with non-human species the utterly impossible. There is no one better in an emergency than Jamie. I thank God for her anew. Please help me tell her the value of her specialness.

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