“It’s for the Birds” Fundraiser 2012

Written By: B.D. Butler - Aug• 30•12


noun: sanctuary

1. refuge or safety from pursuit, persecution, or other danger:

2. a nature reserve:a bird sanctuary

3. a holy place; a temple:

There are things in life that you just “do”.  When it comes time to vote, you vote.  When your taxes are due, you pay them (okay, well some people).  When you get an invitation to attend a fundraiser for the Macaw Rescue and Sanctuary, you go.  Even though things are getting very hectic with our wedding right around the corner, we made a point to attend this great cause.

For those of you who have never heard of the efforts of Bob and Carol Dawson, and their family, here is a little background on these amazing people!

You can also read this on their site directly by clicking on the link below.

Over Twenty Years of Caring for Birds
(and Lots of Other Critters)

Robert (Bob) and Carol Dawson, along with their kids, have been caring for birds, and other various assortments of animals, for over twenty years. In 1993, they raised cranes and ducks on acreage in Kirkland, but as they transitioned into caring for parrots, they realized they needed a larger area. They purchased a twenty-plus-acre parcel in Carnation—grounds which have now been transformed in the manner of an arboretum.

The work done by the Macaw Rescue and Sanctuary is needed 365 days a year, rain or shine and now provides shelter for over 300 birds. The Macaw Rescue and Sanctuary has housing that was intended, when they first purchased the property, to be temporary.

Their goal is to convert the housing to more permanent structures. Managing the facility as it is now is extremely labor intensive and  they hope to find support that will enable them to build more a more efficient system.

They depend on a wide range of support, including help from people who entrusted their birds to them, to friends in the logging business, to local markets. Some people offer monetary support, some stop by for an afternoon to help build shelters or move earth and some provide materials. They always have a variety of needs, so please check the Wish List and see if there is anything you can provide.

I had heard about this amazing area, and heard from a few friends locally that have volunteered with them, “if I was a bird, this is where I would want to retire”.  I actually had no idea until we arrived.  


It’s one of the most beautiful areas of Washington that I have seen since moving here a few years ago.  In our world, you won’t find a lot of places that give you that feeling of peaceful solace, and I immediately felt that when we pulled up.  There was  a calming breeze blowing through the trees and the calls of Macaws in the distance, I began to understand what people were talking when referring to being a bird and wanting to “retire” here.  It felt like a jungle in Washington state, and gave me chills.  

“Can they be outside when it’s cold, and how cold it too cold?”, Eric asked me as we walked.  I thought it was a great question, and I knew people reading this article may ask the same thing.

When most people think about the Pacific Northwest, you start to think about rain, and milder temperatures.  This is not too far from the truth, however there are times in the summer when we can go for months with absolutely not one drop of rain from the sky.  It’s funny when you think about exotic birds, the mind takes you to the humid jungles and exotic locations.  This is the case depending on the species, and it’s not publicly known that birds are very resilient.  I did an article on cooling your bird down and temperatures, and birds can go to extreme temps in both directions.

Click here for Snow Parrots.

If slowly acclimated (it’s recommended that you not subject a bird to more than 10-15 degrees in a 24 hour period), some birds can thrive in temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit.  Some parrots even love snow!

We got closer and immediately saw food tents, auction tables, merchant booths, and tons of volunteers running around getting everything ready.  It was like a finely oiled machine that was getting ready to begin production.   There were representatives from both Zazu’s House, and Mollywood (both local sanctuary facilities) who do the area of great service, taking in those orphan birds and giving the a better quality of life.  I can’t tell you how it warms my heart that these organizations can come together, and support one another in a camaraderie for such an amazing cause. We saw Lisa from Inca’s Secret Toys and Boarding, Debbie Goodrich (The Parrot Lady) just to name a few… Did I mention they had guided tours?  Yes, I said guided tours.  Fantastic! Talk about organized!

How do they get a lot of these structures built, and how do they keep their daily operations running on such a large property?

There are many “work parties” that happen at the sanctuary, utilizing all of the volunteer manpower, and continually building and improving this gorgeous facility. Without the many people who offer their time and assistance this organization would not be where it is today.  Bob Dawson continually thanked people throughout the day for coming, and answered questions for anyone who wanted information.  He also delivered an incredibly  humble and emotionally heart-felt speech, during lunch that was received with open hearts and a roar of applause.   

Walking around all of the enclosure, there were small Conures, Caiques , and Amazons in some cages.  Then you would walk a few feet and see an African Grey enclosure with a mixture of Timnehs and Congos.  There were Cockatoo enclosures not too far from there, followed by Green Wing Macaws all bunched together.  I don’t think I have ever seen so many Blue and Gold Macaws in my life, they were spaced here and there in a few different spaces.

There was a moment, I stopped and a chill came over me.  I looked around at the beautiful scenery, the people who were there to donate and see these beautiful birds, and I began thinking about why these birds were all really here.  It saddened me.

All of these birds have a history and a story. Some happy and some not.  They cannot tell of the abuse that they suffered, or the years being used as a breeder bird, and thrown away.  These magnificent animals cannot tell of the family they were brought home to, were tossed away after three short years, because their owner didn’t know their aggressive behavior was just a temporary spring hormonal issue.  

Some of these birds were not wanted by the family of their owners that had passed away.  There are even birds that are special needs, missing toes, missing wings, and we even saw a small bird with no upper beak.  He came close to us on his enclosure, and wanted nothing more than a little attention and affection.  This honestly almost brought me to tears.  This was an amazing cause, but so bittersweet.  

If it wasn’t for the kind-hearted, and in my eyes, AMAZING people at the Dawson’s Macaw Rescue and Sanctuary, all of these birds would probably be stuck in a basement, or someones garage, or worse, dead.  I incredibly admire anyone that can take in a foster bird, or a start a rescue with no need for glory or accolades, but just to help animals.   I’m sure that we have all thought about donating to a local rescue, and some of you may have actually done it.  So I challenge you, my readers,  to consider helping a rescue organization by donating, volunteering, or maybe even giving one of them a foster home.   There are so many animals in this world of ours, and I look at it this way, “we brought them into this world, and it’s our responsibility to take care of them”.  Even if you don’t foster a bird, go to your local shelters and look at the cats, dogs, and countless other animals that are just thrown away, like last years shoes.


The day was completed with a wine ring toss (you threw a ring, and if you got it on the bottle, you walked away with a special label done by Silver Lake Winery in Woodinville Washington), delicious catered BBQ ribs that fell right off the bone, and my favorite, cheesecake for dessert.  Silent auction tables were also set up, full of everything from spa products to bird themed art.  The various items were all over the board, and it appeared that some of the higher ticket items cause a few light-hearted “bidding wars”.  Hey, sometimes nothing is better than a little competition, right?

The singing Cockatoo.


We saw so many familiar faces, and even meet some new ones.  It was great to have people come up, and say “you’re Parrot Earth!”, it warmed my heart knowing that so many people have read my blog and enjoy it!  It was also nice to put a face with names that I have emailed back and forth with, or talked to on Facebook.   I truly feel like I have met some amazing colleagues.


Overall the day was a great success, and from what we saw people were having a blast.  The weather was spectacular, and it was an incredibly touching experience.  We can’t wait to do it again next year.  Maybe even have a Parrot Earth booth.
There was literally so much beautiful video footage and gorgeous photographs, it’s taken me days to put together a video (PART 1) that captured  parts of the day.  There will be another video with the other images and footage that we captured, however that will come after the craziness of our wedding.  

I got my photo for Macaw Rescue & Sanctuary here.

I would like to personally thank all of the gracious members of Macaw Rescue and Sanctuary (the Dawsons, all their hard-working volunteers, and anyone who has made a donation)and all that they do on a daily basis for these amazing creatures.  You have inspired me, I know that you are truly inspiring others, and you’re raising awareness in this world we call “aviculture”.  

 And most importantly…

“It’s for the Birds”


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  1. […] we went to a local fundraising event, I got the privilege to meet an outgoing woman, who had  such an outgoing personality!  From […]

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