Bird Camp

Just in case y’all have nothing to do and have a few moments between your daily activities, thought I would share a time when Ann and I had birds as pets…

Ann was once a supporter of a bird rescue facility in Washington D.C. way back in the 1990s through 2008 when we (we being Ann and Bob) were able physically, mentally, and financially to support a bird rescue sanctuary. Ann and I became the proud care givers for two pet birds in the late 1980s and those birds Petey (Love Bird) and Pax (Cockatiel) consumed out life, but we loved them, had fun with them, took them every where we went with in reason, traveled with them, spent lots of time with them, taught them songs, took care of their needs as they took care of our needs.

In the mid 2000s Ann and I were going to sell our condo in Falls Church, VA and could not have Petey and Pax at the condo while trying to sell the condo, so we found a summer Bird Camp for them! Yep, there was a bird rescue facility in D.C. that took bird borders for short periods of time for cash or physical assistance. You can guess Ann and I provided physical assistance to the Bird Camp as well as cash every night and weekend while Petey and Pax were at this Bird summer camp. The rescue facility was run and taken care of by a woman I will call Tracey who was a legal secretary by day and a bird rescue director and hands on care giver by evening at her three story town home near Embassy Row in down town D.C.

Our first visit to the bird rescue facility to check it out was interesting to say the least, the town house was in a nice old time town home community, did not believe there was a bird rescue facility there. Knocked on the door and a heavy set young lady answered the door. On approaching the door, did not hear any birds, on opening the door I could here many birds, very well sound proofed town home. The entrance area I do not remember much about, we walked up a small flight of stairs to the second level where we were met by lots of birds sitting about on cages, in cages, on furniture, all about, and all having fun. This was the second floor bird camp break area. We were taken into several rooms on the second floor and all had cages and bird stuff for birds to play with and there were birds everywhere and the birds were of all sizes and types but mostly large birds and they were free to fly about as they pleased. We moved up to the third floor to find more birds of various sizes in various rooms, all the birds were with similar birds and all were having fun, there was food out, toys out, cages to sleep in and all that goes with a bird rescue facility. The care taker of these birds explained how the facility worked, showed us what room Petey and Pax would be in, what they would be doing, how they would be taken care of, that volunteers would be loving them while they were here and they would have full flight of the place as they wanted! Food and Care were donated by volunteers and now we were volunteers and on this first visit shown how we would volunteer!

Yep, our first visit was also to determine if we were suitable to be a bird rescue volunteer and to determine what type of volunteer we would be while Petey and Pax were at bird camp. That day Ann and I were put through the paces of taking care of rescue birds, cleaning up after rescue birds, preparing food for and feeding rescue birds and of course playing with rescue birds. After all some folks are rescue volunteers who can not be allowed near rescue birds, those folks get to see the birds and donate money while others get to be hands on with the birds as well as provide money, guess which type of volunteer Ann and I were, Smiles.

Tracey the head bird rescue woman decided Ann was great with all the birds and could perform all the task while I would only be allowed in certain rooms with certain birds and could prepare food, clean cages and play with certain birds and of course we could both donate money.

Apparently there was an issue with ME and certain larger birds, territorial issues, the larger male birds did not want me in the room with them and THEIR flocks, they were threatened I might run away with the flock! While in one of the large bird rooms I was confronted by a very stern looking bird who watched as I cleaned and played with HIS flock, the BIRD IN CHARGE did not like what he saw, HE was happy with Tracey and Ann but not ME. Head bird flew over to where I was and landed about five feet from me. Head bird then squawked as he walked towards me in very determined steps, once at my feet he looked up at me, squawked and pecked at my shoe. Let me tell you this bird was one large bird and his beak could do some damage if he wanted it to. I slowly backed away from Head Bird slowly, he followed slowly, pecking at the floor as we walked towards the door, me slowly backwards and head bird slowly forwards. Just as I got to the door another of the large birds, female, flew over to me and landed in my arms and started cuddling and wanting to be hugged! Not what I needed at the moment with Head Bird walking me out of the room. I hugged big gal and put her on a cage next to me and just got out of the room as Head Bird who did not appreciate me hugging HIS girl rushed me squawking and pecking but did stop at the entrance and exit to the room…whew…who knew…I never went back into that room again.

At the end of the day we signed a Bird Camp contract with Tracey for Petey and Pax to spend the summer at Tracey’s Bird Camp rescue facility in a quaint part of DC near Embassy Row. More Bird Camp memories to follow cause Bird Camp for the summer can not be condensed into one short story and may take several short stories, stay tuned for The Rest Of The Story of Bird Camp…smiles.

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The bird rescue discussed was in DC and later moved to the wilds of VA, the memories are mine and may not be the same memories of Tracey or anyone else, but hey, these memories are as I remember them…smiles.


As I mentioned in my previous memories of Bird Camp, Ann had full run of Bird Camp as a fully validated Bird Camp volunteer, she could do all the work and play with all the birds, while I could do all the work and play with some of the birds, but not all of the birds, remember ruler of the roost in the Big Bird Room who did not want me hugging any of his flock?

Over the next few months I would take Ann to Bird Camp after work and on weekends and drop her off so she could work her magic on the birds while I would go do something else for 8 hours and then come back and spend the last hour or so cleaning cages, preparing food and keeping some of the birds company. On weekends Ann and I both would spend some time at Bird Camp helping out, there were many Bird Camp Volunteers, Bird Camp was not that large a place so we could not have more than five volunteers there at one time, so Ann did not get to spend as much time with Petey and Pax and the other birds as she wanted. Petey and Pax were not happy with US at times for leaving them at Bird Camp, they would turn their backs on us when they saw us each time to let us know they were not happy, but would warm up to us when they saw us with the other birds, after all, we were their humans and they wanted to make sure the other birds knew that, smiles.

Bird Camp director mentioned to US in the second month that Petey our not so shy Love Bird had been leaving his cage and checking out other birds cages and the other birds did not like it, but Petey did not hang in their cage that long but his aggressiveness might get him into problems. Apparently Petey was playing with all the birds his size as well as the birds much large than he, Petey thought he was an Eagle and felt all the other birds should do whatever he wanted them to do. Did I mention that a Love Bird is about the size of a fist?

The room Petey and Pax had their cages in was for birds similar in size to them and smaller, they had about 30 birds in the room they lived in while at Bird Camp. The condo that housed Bird Camp had three floors, two of the three floors had three bird rooms on each floor with a long hall way connecting the rooms, each of these rooms had larger birds in them, but each room had about 20 birds in them.

Bird Camp was actually a bird rescue facility for large Parrots, Sun Conures, African Grays,Cockatoos, Macaws, and some Parakeets and with our guys, they now had a Love Bird and a Cockatiel.

At the end of the second month WE got a call from Bird Camp that Petey had tried to take over a Macaws cage and the Macaw was not happy, when Petey started eating the Macaws food a fight ensued, Petey had the best of the Macaw for about ten minutes before the Bird Camp director could get into the room and rescue the Macaw, but as Petey left the cage headed for his room down the hall, he ran smack dab into a Cockatoo Petey had previous run ins with, the Cockatoo managed to break Peteys foot in the brief altercation that took place, lucky for the Cockatoo Petey was tired of discussing who owned what cage or ate what food or the Cockatoo might have not survived the meeting.

Petey flew to his cage and realized he was injured and let Pax know who let the Bird Camp director know about the injury who called US to advise us Petey would need to see a bird vet for his leg injury. I picked Ann up from work in DC and WE made our way to Bird Camp to check on Petey. Once at Bird Camp we found Pax our Cockatiel guarding the entrance to Peteys cage, Petey was in his cage looking happy as always, his left foot and leg however had seen better days, he had a little Bird Camp bandage on it and was not happy about that. We played with Pax briefly and then signed Petey out of Bird Camp for a vet visit and took Petey to the vet where we learned Peteys foot and leg were broken and a cast was placed on his foot. We had to keep Petey at the condo for the next week while his leg and foot healed, and Petey had to wear one of those horrible neck cones to keep him from chewing off his cast, we signed Pax out for the week from Bird Camp to keep Petey company. This week was fun and hard at the same time, we loved our two birds and hated to pack them off to Bird Camp and knew after this week we still had to take them back to Bird Camp for at least another month. The week came and went, Petey got the use of his leg and foot back and the incident never change his aggressiveness to be in the middle of everything and everyone…smiles and frowns.

Signed Petey and Pax back into Bird Camp, it was as if we did not exist for a moment or two once we got them back to their Bird Camp buddies, they were both here there and every where talking to their friends about their week at the condo and of course Petey was the center of attention obviously telling everyone about his leg and foot and encounters with the Big Birds of which he thought he was.

Over the next several weeks Petey was still in all the other birds business and still involved in all sorts of excitement to the point of getting many demerit slips from Bird Camp volunteers, but Petey won them all over with his ability to make everyone smile and get everyone to love him, yep that was our Petey, the Love Bird who thought he was an Eagle and never saw his wanting to make friends as something that could cause him a problem. More memories of Bird Camp to follow…Smiles
Ann was having great fun going to Bird Camp to volunteer and be with Petey her Love Bird and Pax her Cockatiel and loved helping out with all the other birds she was taking care of, while I kept a low profile cleaning cages, preparing food, and having fun with some of the other birds including Petey and Pax.

As the third long month of our trying to sell our condo was winding down, Ann and I decided it was time to call our attempt to sell the condo over with and get our birds back home to the condo, Bird Camp was fun, but we missed our birds being home. Little did we know that this last week at Bird Camp would be a sad time for us. Contacted Bird Camp and let them know we would be picking Petey and Pax up at the end of the week and their Bird Camp days were numbered. Over the next few days Ann and I were at Bird Camp every day helping out getting ready to end Bird Camp for Petey and Pax. Petey and Pax must have realized something was up since we were with them way more than we had been over the last few months, so they seemed to be more active with the other birds at Bird Camp.

On Friday morning I called Bird Camp and let Tracey know I would be by to pick Petey and Pax up about 6PM so she should get their cages and them ready for pick up. Tracey indicated she was with Petey and Pax at that moment and Petey was listening to our conversation with great interest while Pax was just sitting there looking at her.

Arrived at Bird Camp about 6PM, let my self in the front door with my Bird Camp Key, walked up the three flights of stairs to the top Bird Camp level to get the birds, met Tracey who ask me to help her move the ten twenty pound bags of bird food from the hall into the kitchen area, that meant I moved ten bags of donated bird food from the hall to the kitchen while Tracey went to get Petey and Pax.

As I came in with the last bag of bird food I heard a scream, but was not sure, then a few minutes later, I heard sobbing, so I raced down the long hall of the third floor and into Petey and Pax’s room, Pax was there but neither Tracey or Petey were there, then I heard another sob and raced down to the end of the hall to the Big Birds room, where I saw Tracey looking at the lifeless body of Petey laying on the bottom of the McCaw’s cage, the McCaw was sitting on top of another cage looking down as if to say what happened? Reached in and got Petey from the bottom of the cage and got Tracey and Me out of there before anything else happened. Took Petey down to his cage area and checked him, he was not breathing and had obviously been attacked by a much larger bird, he was surely injured and was no longer with us. At that moment Tracey said when she went to get Petey, Petey saw her and flew down to the big birds room, she followed and arrived in time to see Petey fly near a large African Grey who thought Petey was too close, the African Grey snapped at Petey and Petey fell and bounced into the McCaw cage. Tracey knew Petey did not survive the hit by the Grey but could not move for several minutes until I came into the room. Tracey was overcome by what happened and I was not doing all that well my self.

Here I was on the last day of Bird Camp to get Petey and Pax to take them home to Ann who was waiting on all of us to hurry up and get there. There was no easy end to this event, could not keep this a secret or make it better, called Ann and told her I was at Bird Camp, but Petey had an altercation with an African Grey and did not survive. Ann was crushed, Tracey and I were crushed and we were all crying about the loss of Petey. In hind site I should have waited to tell Ann face to face, but knew I could not have driven home with all that on my mind and then having to tell Ann, the phone call was the best way to handle it.

Made arrangements for Bird Camp to burry Petey, I could not deal with that. Said my good byes to Petey, picked pax and his cage up and returned home to Ann. This was not a good ending to our time at Bird Camp, but Ann and I talked about all that happened and both felt Petey had a great time with all those other birds and volunteers and enjoyed each and every minute of his time there. Petey was just to adventurist and nosey to survive Bird Camp, but Ann and I are sure Petey left Bird Camp knowing he was a Love Bird Eagle. More stories of the life and times of Pax to follow…smiles and frowns.

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March 13, 2018

We currently have 2 African Greys, an Umbrella Cockatoo, an Indian Ringneck, a Lovebird and a Yellow Naped Amazon.  All were “unplanned” additions to the family.

March 13, 2018

We now have a fouble yellow headed amazon partot named Josie, we have had her for two years, we are the third partot parents, she is twelve