[Buddha-l] Garuda Aviary (I kid you not)---joanna

jkirk jkirk at spro.net
Tue Sep 23 12:13:03 MDT 2008


Formerly abused birds take flight at sanctuary
by Meghan Tierney | Staff Writer

It's been a long journey from Arizona to Maryland, but the
roughly 40 formerly abused and neglected tropical birds of Garuda
Aviary finally have a permanent place to take flight.
The flock came to Kunzang Palyul Ch^ling Buddhist temple in
Poolesville in August 2006 from a converted two-car garage, where
they were cared for by the Maryland center's spiritual leader.
They stayed in an army tent and gutted music studio until an
indoor aviary was constructed last fall, and now have a chance to
fully spread their wings in their outdoor flight cage, which
celebrated its grand opening on Sunday.
The $10,000 enclosure was built thanks to a donation from an
African grey parrot owner in Germany, according to Claire
Waggoner, the nonprofit aviary's director. The flight cage is
made from a chain link fence with smaller holes that is tough
enough to withstand pressure from the birds' beaks.
A smaller cage will be built inside the enclosure to accommodate
tiny conures and cockatoos, and a drinking system and misting
apparatus will come later.
No longer solely confined in indoor cages, the public will be
able to visit the birds by appointment. The birds are supervised
when they're outside in case of fights or the presence of
predators such as raccoons or opossums.
"They are prey animals and we're predators, so when they're in
small cages, they feel trapped," Christopher Zeoli, the birds'
main caretaker said Sunday from inside the enclosure, a massive
hyacinth macaw perched serenely on his shoulder.
"I'm going to put in a sign on this side that says 'bird
observatory' and one the other side that says 'primate
observatory' because they're watching us, too," Zeoli joked as
the birds sat on a series of handmade wooden perches, navigated
the walls with their claws and beaks and hung from the ceiling.
Many of the temple's monks and nuns and a group of worshippers
gathered to bless the flight cage and ask that the birds be
reborn into happier lives. Many of the birds had been abused by
their owners, such as one who was thrown against a wall and
burned with cigarette butts. In addition to providing sanctuary
for unwanted pets, one of the aviary's goals is to discourage
people from buying the birds, which can live anywhere from 30-80
years and fare poorly in captivity.
"On average, a bird will go through 10 homes in seven years,
which is hard because they bond with people," said author Mira
Tweti, who spoke about the problems with the pet bird trade.
The sounds imitated by the birds provide their caretakers with
hints about what their former homes were like, such as ones that
whinny or sing opera.
Some of the birds now bark, copying noises produced by the stray
dogs taken in by the temple from New Orleans after Hurricane
Katrina. Others, such as two African greys cared for by Pema
Mallu, a nun and holistic vet, make sounds that are more
representative of their peaceful environs.
"One of Pema's birds has learned to say 'Om mani padme hum,'" a
mantra that invokes compassion, laughed monk Konchog Norbu.
[More pics on Konchon Norbu's blog for Sept 17th
http://danzanravjaa.typepad.com/my_weblog/ ]

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