Words on the Wind – “Chats” with Mollywood

Written By: B.D. Butler - Jul• 17•13
I got pen and paper here.

I got pen and paper here.

Back in the days when communication wasn’t so easy (yes youngsters the internet has not always been) you had to get it from the source.  Generally via messenger of some sort.  Pen and paper were your ally and people took great pride in the words that would flow through their hands and onto the page.  People read newspapers instead of smart phones.  Items that were published were held up to a certain standard and people could trust what they read.   Things evolve and change.  Some for good and some… well not.  I miss those days.

I got this here.

I got this here.

In today’s world,  there are groups, clubs, forums, web sites, blogs and list goes on and on.  You can get your information from anywhere on the internet, after all, if it’s on the internet then it has to be true…right?

Recently I got wind of things that were floating around the avian stratosphere, regarding a certain rescue that happens to be located somewhat locally here in the Pacific Northwest.  “They’re closing” is one thing I read, “so much for a forever sanctuary” is another.  It really surprised me that before they had a chance to make a public statement, or any facts for that matter were released, people automatically jumped to the dark end of the spectrum.  So, I decided to go right to the source of the uproar and get to the bottom of the rumors and hopefully get some answers.  


Mollywood Parrot Rescue and Sanctuary is located in northern Washington State, very close to the Canadian border.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with Betsy and Nate Lott, they are actually briefly featured in “The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill”.  It’s the incredibly touching scene when Mark Bittner takes his beloved “Mingus” and three other Cherry Headed Conures to their house for transit to The Oasis Sanctuary.  I had seen that movie a few dozen times and had no idea that Betsy and Nate had migrated north to start their dream of Mollywood, until a “bird buddy” told me.  

I have wanted to set up an interview with them for a while and actually never really got a chance to get it done, until now.

mollywood.arielPE – The pressing question buzzing through the stratosphere of the avian community is…”are you closing”?

BL – No, Mollywood is NOT closing. My husband got a new job in Hawaii after losing his job here in Washington State. He sent resumes all over the country and the only job offer happened to come from out-of-state. I’m only sorry that it’s so far away. We are going to relocate and will keep Mollywood open and active. We have a fair number of birds that are care managed due to medical or physical reasons mostly, as well as some education birds that will remain in Mollywood’s care and custody. We worked hard for our non-profit status and we’re not about to give it up just because we have to relocate.

PE- How soon will you be leaving Washington?

BL – I don’t have a hard stop date as of yet. We are anticipating that the relocation will happen sometime in the next 12-18 months. We have a lot of birds to take care of, either by relocation to another facility, relocation with us, or with permission, by adoption. We refuse to rush anything because we owe these birds everything we can do make the best decision for him or her. And I won’t be pressured into making rash decisions. After this many years of caring for them day in and day out, I owe them that much at the very least.

PE- How many birds do you currently have places at Mollywood?

BL – Mollywood has exactly 134 birds on location. The most we ever had at Mollywood was 352 and of that number ONLY 162 were bigger than a Goffin Cockatoo. The rest of that number was finches, cockatiels, parakeets and lovebirds. There are several vicious rumors running rampant on the Internet, so I need to reiterate we NEVER had “thousands” of birds. We never even had “400” not “700”. Again, that magic number was 352 and of those, about half were cockatiels or smaller.

PE – How many birds are yours personally?

BL – Four. Though several of them came up from California with us when we had an adoption program and ended up grandfathered in to Mollywood. Those are not our personal birds but a few of them are buddied up with our personal birds. Some of our personal birds we’ve had for nearly 20 years. Long before Mollywood was even an option.

hawaiiPE – How many birds will you be taking to Hawaii with you?

BL – I don’t have an exact number at this time but I can estimate that the number resides between 60-70. These are the ones mentioned earlier – care managed or education and the four that are our personal birds.

PE – Is it hard to get birds “in” to Hawaii?

BL – Yes in some ways it is. First, there are species restrictions though none of the ones we’re taking are restricted by that state. Next is the matter of quarantine. Which is now done here on the mainland; overseen by a veterinarian. There are permit application fees. Then there is the matter of micro chipping each bird, health certificates for each bird, and special carrier requirements. Each carrier must be wrapped in mosquito proof netting. Following the end of quarantine there are only so many hours you have before your bird(s) must be on a plane bound for Hawaii. Once there it has to be inspected to make sure all the paperwork is intact.

PE – What are your plans with the birds that are at Mollywood?

BL – Some will be or have been transferred to other 501c3 facilities. Some have been or will be adopted because we have former owner permission to do so. And the rest of the birds will remain part of Mollywood.

I got my photo for Macaw Rescue & Sanctuary here.

I got my photo for Macaw Rescue & Sanctuary here.

PE – Rumor is you are placing part of your birds at Macaw Rescue & Sanctuary, is this true?  If so, how many?

BL – That number isn’t exact but it’s not a rumor. It’s a fact. Macaw Rescue & Sanctuary, like Mollywood, has its 501c3 status by the IRS. Under IRS guidelines, we are following; the birds may be transferred to a “like” facility. Bob Dawson has been counting the number he’s taken in from us so far so you’re better to ask him for the head count. Macaw Rescue 025TM

PE – Will Macaw Rescue & Sanctuary have enough room for these birds?  

BL – Yes. We have given them all of our frames and rolls of wire to assist them in building more or larger accommodations, not just for our birds but also to help spread out the groups they have, so the birds have even more room. I’m also secretly envious of their small bird aviary. We thought with a little over 200 sq. ft. of space in our small bird aviary we had it pretty sweet but theirs is over 440 sq. ft. of space. That’s just one example.

PE – When you arrive in Hawaii, what are your plans with opening a new facility?

BL – Our plans are to continue to operate Mollywood. I can’t really elaborate more on that yet because I don’t yet know what it will be like. I would like to say that someone would love to donate a chunk of land so that we could build a public facility where we could continue the education work so vital to the parrot’s continuance but we’re not holding our breath for that, or even considering it an option. When we get closer to actually being able to move, we’ll get more serious about working with a realtor over there. For now, my husband is renting a place to stay while he works to keep the income coming in that pays our mortgage and other personal bills. I work here to keep Mollywood functioning and to take care of the flock. It’s still an every day job. My husband comes home now and then for weekends or longer if he can work from here.

mollywood_waPE – Are there any other areas that might need clarification related to Mollywood?

BL – Rumors will always run faster and farther than the truth. Thank you for the opportunity to set the record straight. The biggest rumor out there is that “we are closing, when in fact, we ARE NOT”. The next rumor our there is that because we chose to support Macaw Rescue & Sanctuary’s Annual Fundraiser by putting it on our home page with a link to their site, people who see it are assuming it’s our fundraiser and that we’re using it as a way to raise funds for our personal move. Again, I have to say, it’s NOT OURS. We are showing our support for another awesome sanctuary and inviting people to come out and meet us because we will be their supporting Bob Dawson’s incredible facility. We will not use one dollar of Mollywood funds for anything personal, move or otherwise. Mollywood’s income is barely there at best and every dime that comes in goes exclusively for the continued care and keep of each bird here. We’re not moving anytime soon and each little beak here still has to eat, play, live and thrive. So every dime of Mollywood money goes toward their food, supplies, vet care and housing.

I am very impressed with the way that this move is being handled.  Very dignified and in fact incredibly organized!  Not the “rush job” that some have described.  Unfortunately, in this economic climate, no business is certain let alone any rescue/sanctuary.  I am just glad that they are making their migration slowly and by the book.   No one is selling any birds, wild birds aren’t just being released, in fact just the opposite is happening.  They are looking out for the welfare of everyone involved and more importantly the birds.    

I got this here.

I got this here.

I, in fact, love that they have contacted previous owners and asked for their input regarding adopting out some of the “adoptable” birds.  I personally believe that if a bird has the chance to be someone’s pride and joy for thirty years instead of being placed directly in a sanctuary, they should do it.  In fact I believe that all sanctuaries should have an adoption program, because sanctuaries are getting over-crowded and people are now getting educated that birds live a long time and it’s a lifetime commitment.  It simply comes down to “You know better, you do better” – Dr. Maya Angelou.

Thanks to Betsy Lott for participating in the latest “Chats” segment and I hope that this interview helps dispel doubts or rumors.  I also hope this comforts the people concerned about the birds at Mollywood.  

hope that this article will also inspire you to donate or fundraise for other rescues and sanctuaries in your area. They really need it.


Copyright 2013 Parrot Earth – Words on the Wind – “Chats” with Mollywood



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