About the Bird Lady
I have a lifetime of experience working with exotic animals and over 35 years working with parrots and exotic birds. I use behavior training techniques while grooming to reduce the stress on the animals. I groom all kinds of exotic animals, including parrots, lizards, turtles, bunnies, guinea pigs, etc, in your home. My specialty is corrective beak grooming. I have a group of animals that I bring to birthday parties, events, and educational programs for all ages. I have written three books about parrots, as well as articles for magazines.
"How did you get into this line of work?" "When did you decide you wanted to do this?" I am frequently asked these questions. The short answer is that I was born this way. My poor parents were flummoxed. They had a dog. But by the time I was 2 years old, there was a "pet" praying mantis on the juniper bush guarding the front door and a garden spider with a web adorning the outside of my bedroom window. They were soon to be joined by a painted turtle who shared my sandbox. When I was in grade school, a friend was moving and she wasn't allowed to take her pet fish with her. So I took them and started breeding them. I asked a local department store if they wanted to buy them. The nice lady in charge of the fish agreed. Then she started calling for more. She said people liked to buy my fish because they were friendly. At that time, the way to get me to come running, like a cat to a tuna can, was with the theme song to National Geographic. In high school, we moved to Florida. My favorite thing to do at the beach was to train the seagulls to line up and take turns for treats.
I studied animal behavior at the University of Florida. There are many branches of animal behavior and I took classes in all of them, including comparative psychology. I was taking graduate classes under some very impressive professors. I loved the get-togethers and learning from the visiting professors and grad students. I even got to help radio track Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes and work on some films with one of my film making idols from the Oxford Scientific Film company. But I realized that as I progressed, my field of study would be getting more and more narrow and I wanted to know about EVERYTHING. I also wanted to help other people know and appreciate more about exotic animals. Some people suggested that I become a vet. I worked with a number of vets, including in the zoo ward at CSU vet school in Colorado. I realized that by the time people sought vet help, it was already very late for the animals and that people needed more information from the other side. At that time, I was also able to get into working with the raptor rehab facility in Fort Collins.
I had happened to become the owner of a second hand yellow-collared macaw while I was in college. Very little was known about them at that time, so he and I learned about trusting each other and cooperating together. I learned about recall and target training, even though it wasn't a "thing" yet at that time. A few more birds happened into my life and then I started working for a parrot breeder. Eventually I started breeding on my own and opened a bird store. I loved that and I got to really put all of my talents to use. I joined an association of parrot behavior consultants from around the world and we merged with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. It was an amazing learning experience and the field of animal behavior was exploding with new ideas (some good and some bad, lol). But I ended up with three children (two were twins under a year old) and divorced. I found I had to pick between parenting and business, so I chose parenting. I started grooming birds in people's homes and helping them learn to care for and get along with their companions.
Along the way, other exotic animals have happened into my life and I have always been committed to teaching other people about them. I have been involved with educational programs since my days with the raptor center. My entire life has been about doing what I do.