on October 7th 2014
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)
Each morning at first light, Michele Raffin steps outside into the bewitching bird music that heralds another day at Pandemonium Aviaries. A full symphony that swells from the most vocal of more than 350 avian throats representing more than 40 species.
Pandemonium, the home and bird sanctuary that Raffin shares with some of the world's most remarkable birds, is a conservation organization dedicated to saving and breeding birds at the edge of extinction, with the goal of eventually releasing them into the wild. In The Birds of Pandemonium, she lets us into her world--and theirs. Birds fall in love, mourn, rejoice, and sacrifice; they have a sense of humor, invent, plot, and cope. They can teach us volumes about the interrelationships of humans and animals.
Their amazing stories make up the heart of this book. There's Sweetie, a tiny quail with an outsize personality; the inspiring Oscar, a disabled Lady Gouldian finch who can't fly but finds a brilliant way to climb to the highest perches of his aviary to roost. The ecstatic reunion of a disabled Victoria crowned pigeon, Wing, and her brother, Coffee, is as wondrous as the silent kinship that develops between Amadeus, a one-legged turaco, and an autistic young visitor.
Michelle Raffin didn’t know anything about birds when an injured dove came into her life. She took it to an avian veterinarian and that experience led to visiting an exotic bird breeder. She and her husband left there with several varieties of exotic pigeons. Over time, she got involved in rescue and rehab until her suburban backyard was full of aviaries.
The learning curve when keeping birds is steep. It is especially hard when trying to keep and breed endangered species that haven’t done well in captivity before. A lot of luck and detective skills are needed. I don’t think I would do well with this because it is more similar to ranching than keeping pet birds. You need to focus on the good of the flock more than on what is best for an individual bird. That can lead to making some hard choices if you are attached to the birds.
I am familiar with mostly with parrots and didn’t know much about the personalities of the birds that she focuses on. It was interesting to hear about their lives. She does have some parrots inside. She has a morning dance party with them. I’m trying to get my Senegal parrot to be more active so maybe I’ll try this too.