Then Who Will?

Written By: B.D. Butler - Apr• 24•13

Last night I was just about to hit the hay and I got an email from a member of the Flight Club Foundation board.  It simply said,” I caught this on King 5 news at 6:30, thought I would share”.  Of course I thought, Bob Dawson and Macaw Rescue & Sanctuary in the news, must be something great?  Right?  So I clicked.

Macaw Rescue 017TM

After I watched the video,  I thought, “why the hell would anyone complain about that place?”.   I sat shocked with my husband as we discussed our trip to the Macaw Rescue & Sanctuary for last year’s “It’s For The Birds 2012” Fundraiser and BBQ.  I remember when we drove up and parked, a long distance from the road on a rather long driveway,  you could hear some bird calls in the distance, faintly.  Not the shrieking that was shown on the newscast video.   As we got closer it did get louder, but we were even further from the road than I thought.  I even made the joke, “are we in Canada” because it was quite a walk.   As we wandered up the heavily wooded path to what I thought was one of the most amazing places I had ever seen since moving to Washington. 

Macaw Rescue 025TMIt is truly a place of serenity and a feeling of peace surrounds you.  Believe it or not, when you are not considered a stranger or a threat, the birds go on with their day.  Ignoring you while preening and enjoying the sun.  Since most birds nap during the day, they can get very quiet and sometimes you can hear a slight breeze through the trees.  Not the manic behavior of  birds portrayed, but the cohabitation of birds snatched from the wild, from your neighbor’s house, or your local pet store/breeder.
Macaw Rescue 114TM
Did you know that most of these birds have been tossed away.  Not because they asked to be born, not asked to be bought from a pet store and taken home.  Not because they asked to be misunderstood in their homes, not because they asked to be sold over and over.  Not because they asked to be eventually taken to a sanctuary.  But because of us, human beings.
I got Theodore Roosevelt and his Hyacinth Eli, here.

I got Theodore Roosevelt and his Hyacinth Eli, here.

Birds have been in captivity for thousands of years, throughout  history.  The egyptian pharaohs owned African Greys because of their amazing ability to talk.  Hieroglyphics document them as pets.  Let’s not forget the Greeks and their fascination with parrots.  Fast forward a bit shall we?  Teddy Roosevelt and his Hyacinth Macaw, Eli,  Winston Churchill and Charlie, his Blue and Gold Macaw, who is supposed to still be living at 104.  Yes I said, still alive. These animals aren’t like any other “human pet” they live years beyond dogs, cats, horses and even most likely beyond their owners.  This is exactly why it is so important to have a place like Macaw Rescue & Sanctuary.  If your pet was going to out live you, or you weren’t able to care for it any longer, for whatever reason…just what do you do?

Macaw Rescue 048TMAndy Weiss the realtor who King 5  interviewed said,”This is all part of living in the country, dogs and fences, and you know houses, I rather enjoy the noise“.  Then he makes a comment about the birds making a lot of noise, yet he makes no reference to the sounds of the loud barking dogs or the speeding cars on the road behind him.  Seemingly nor did the interviewer, John Langeler,  as the black BMW X5 drove by obviously speeding faster than the posted  35 mph speed limit.  Maybe they have become immune to the noises of civilization, similar to that of our society and a car alarm.  Eventually sounds just seem to fade away into the scenery.

View Larger Map(click + 2 times)The Sanctuary is the whole property in the middle, including the main house north of the “A”, with  two neighbors on each side

Regarding potential buyers in the area, Andy Weiss also added “they came out listened to the birds, and that was it.  They did not want to buy that house“.  So clearly it is not like the sanctuary was not a kept or hidden secret from anyone looking to purchase in that part of the Carnation Washington area.  Actually as you can see, if you zoom in a bit on the overhead map view on Google Maps, with the sanctuaries 20 acres (860,000 square feet) of land, the closest noise pollution to the neighbors of Macaw Rescue & Sanctuary, on either side, would be road noise.  So why is it, you move into an area, where you KNOW there is an exotic bird sanctuary and then complain about the noise? 

The singing Cockatoo.

The singing Cockatoo.

The interview was also edited with the sounds of the squawking birds in the background, when in reality it was filmed with a strange camera crew coming in and standing feet away from the birds territories, of course they are going to make noise.  Wouldn’t you and your pets make noise if a stranger came into your home?

I think the part that really ticks me off about the complaint, the interview, the fact the complaint is anonymous and refused to be identified, basically the whole shebang is…Bob Dawson didn’t get to explain really what the mission of the Macaw Rescue & Sanctuary is all about. Macaw Rescue 034 He did not get to explain why the majority of the birds, he and his family are caring for day in and day out, are actually there.  They didn’t ask him why he even had the parrots, or why he decided to open and commit his life to the rescue and sanctuary he loves so much, other than showing him say, “it’s my life’s passion”.  I feel that he deserved much more camera time, to plead his case, to explain to the general public what his beloved sanctuary is there for.   I briefly met Bob Dawson last year and took some footage for our video of the fundraiser.  Bob has a reputation for being a very gently person, he isn’t looking for accolades, he didn’t decide to do this because of his ego, he does it because he has a “calling” to help these animals.   Bob is a very well-respected man, and commands attention when he walks into a room.  Not boastfully, but because he has earned the respect of his colleagues and has shown the utmost integrity, therefore people want to hear what he has to say.  


The part the interview should have added was, Bob Dawson simply does it because he loves birds.  That’s all.  Plain and simple.  

It comes down to a need, the Pacific Northwest needs rescues and other sanctuaries, because if places like Macaw Rescue & Sanctuary don’t take are of these birds, then who will?



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  1. Debbie says:

    Awesome work. Time to face what is real and what is not. Your video of the BBQ portrays the most important aspect that the birds are not so loud we cannot host a party. Then, the map is awesome. Lastly, we are really worried about the county denying him permits or charging him for permits for buildings. This news story could hurt Bob this way and if it does, King 5 should pick up the bill.

  2. S. Powell says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I am deeply indebted to Bob for caring for Macaws I had for over 20 years. He bought a huge piece of property to house them and I hope he gets a chance to explain the incredible service he is providing, that he should be able to build the facilities for these beautiful creatures without interference from anonymous people who don’t understand how much the Sanctuary is needed.

  3. BOB PERRY says:

    tell the people you dont need them moving next to you any way….

  4. Thank you for speaking up. We have taken these magnificent creatures from their native habitat, tried to turn them into something they are not, and now, this? People can be so harsh and selfish. There certainly are more homes available for these people to buy than safe havens for these precious gifts of the universe.

  5. Helana says:

    Perhaps the complainer should live next to the blueberry fields in the Tampa Bay area and constantly be subjected to the noise of a gun going off every couple of minutes to scare off the birds!! There ARE noises much more annoying!!!

  6. Tonya says:

    Thank God for animal lovers who are willing to take care of these birds and other animals. They should never be taken from the wild and sold to begin with but to have someone willing to care for them is fantastic. My conures are going to be living there and have some well deserved freedom.

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