Monthly Archives: December 2012

Feathered Friends have Flocks of Fans on Orcas Island

Posted by Sandi

And I’m not talking about Seahawks fans – although there are plenty of those too.

Orcas Island – and the rest of the San Juan Islands – is home to many bird enthusiasts. There are guided bird walks, Frank Richardson Wildfowl Preserve, and of course we’re a migratory stop on the Pacific Flyway. But I recently found another bird-loving contingent here.

Charlie the African Grey Parrot on Orcas Island

Charlie

About 10 days before Christmas, my neighbor passed away leaving behind ‘Charlie,’ her beloved thirty-something Congo African Grey Parrot. I volunteered to find Charlie a new forever home.

First stop was the Orcas Animal Protection Society  where I was given names of several local parrot owners/experts to contact. All of these ladies gave me excellent info on what criteria to look for in Charlie’s new home. One offered to be foster mom until we found the perfect landing place.

Next I joined the Orcas Island Pets group on Facebook. This interactive page is where you can ask for advice, trade pet supplies, post lost and found pets, and rehome  or adopt a pet.

Charlie the Parrot in his new home on Orcas Island

Charlie gets a new home for Christmas

The grand slam, though, came when I posted on two online Yahoo groups: “Deer Harbor Community Bulletin Board”  and “Westsound Neighbor-to-Neighbor”. I was flooded with emails, phone calls and offers to help. That’s when I found the perfect home for Charlie: Ed and Amy Masters.

Ed and Amy and their two teenage sons live on a 10-acre farm near Westsound. They own Orcas Island Shuttle (our local rental car company) and work from home, so Charlie will have constant attention and activity. Amy has experience with parrots and a close friend that raises parrots. She always wanted an African Grey. They’re prepared to provide a loving home to Charlie for the next 30+ years.

Charlie the Parrot on Orcas Island

Charlie flies to his new mom during Christmas dinner

We delivered Charlie a few days before Christmas to their beautiful 3-story A-frame home, overlooking a large pond with their pet ducks and geese. They also have horses and chickens.

Charlie has now integrated well into the family and they all LOVE him! Each day he responds with revealing more of his intuitive personality and extensive vocabulary. On Christmas Eve, they allowed him to perch outside his cage for the first time, and during dinner he flew to Amy and perched on her arm for the duration of the family meal.

I’m so thrilled at the happy ending to this story. And it was made possible through the amazing community network of caring people we have here on Orcas Island. Thanks Orcas!

Looking to enjoy the simple life on beautiful Orcas Island?
Contact T Williams Realty  – we’ll help you find your way home.

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Filed under Community, Nature

What’s Up, SeaDoc?

Posted by Sandi

We’re fortunate to have many conservation-oriented organizations in the San Juan Islands dedicated to understanding, preserving and restoring our ecosystems. One of the most important is the SeaDoc Society, based on Orcas Island.

The SeaDoc Society, Orcas IslandSeaDoc sponsors a very cool Marine Science Lecture Series on Orcas in the fall/winter. I’ve been to many of these and highly recommend them. Get there early as they’re usually packed! It starts with cookies and refreshments, followed by a slide presentation with a scientist, then Q&A. It’s a fun educational event for all ages. Click here for the schedule. The next one is December 11th and focuses on potential local impacts of Climate Change.

SeaDoc is now posting videos of these informative presentations on their website. The October lecture was fascinating and one well worth watching: Indirect Effects of Humans on Native Species and Ecosystems.

Black-Tailed Deer on Orcas Island

Foxglove and Daisies, both non-natives, thrive here because they’re not on the deer diet.

The biggest takeaway for me was that our deer population, which is 10 times larger than it was when we had apex predators on the island, is responsible for large declines in native plant variety and therefore songbirds — two of my loves. Professor Peter Arcese, the lecturer from University of British Columbia, says responsible stewardship is the only way to reduce the deer population so that the ecosystem can begin to recover.

Stewardship is a nice word for hunting, which I’ve been adamantly opposed to. However, this lecture really opened my eyes as to the impact of letting the deer population run wild. Our current hunting law, though, permits up to two deer to be “taken” per hunter per year. Venison anyone?

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Filed under Community, Nature