By Diane Burroughs
I can’t say that Smokey chose me, as he was a featherless baby African Grey Parrot at Birds of Paradise in Wichita, KS when we met. I was sort of interning at this great bird store and Nancy was graciously my mentor. I wanted to learn about running an online bird store and needed to learn as much as possible about a quality bird store. Nancy graciously assisted me. Even though Birds of Paradise is the only reputable bird store in Wichita, Nancy is truly the best in the MidWest. And, of my pet (vs. rescue birds – which turned into pets) they all came from Birds of Paradise in Wichita, KS. I’m not sure how Smokey arrived at Birds of Paradise, but during my internship there, I fell in love with him.
I honestly think that one of the most critical factors into why “we mesh” is that Smokey got a tenderly loving good start with Nancy. During my internship at Birds of Paradise, I witnessed Nancy carefully bringing the baby parrots to the nursery during the day and carefully packing them up at night. Each baby, whether a parakeet or a cockatiel or an expensive macaw was treated as though it were the best bird on earth! Smokey was no exception. Truth is, a dedicated bird store doesn’t “assembly line” hand feed babies. They love and cuddle and coach their underlings. Nancy’s bird store, otherwise known as Wall Seed in Wichita, isn’t a fly by night – gez “I just want to sell a bird to pay the bills” type of bird store.
Nancy is as passionate about parrots as I am. I know this because I intern-shipped at her bird store to learn the trade after I became passionate about parrots. Nancy carries only the top notch, known to be healthy, vet approved bird supplies. Smokey was reared with the superior bird supplies she introduced me to. He was handled with love kept warm in a pediatric cage. Cuddled. Coddled, and Coached how to be a domestic parrot.
Nancy spent considerable time helping me pick out a great cage. She helped me choose just the right supplies to insure that Smokey got a great start and a content life. She wanted my home to be his forever home. To this day, Smokey is a happy, self assured, and sometimes fiesty bird that is truly a part of the family. My other bird that is from Birds of Paradise is Peachy.
Peachy is a 17 year old Moluccan Cockatoo. All you have to do is get on the internet and hear screeches and screams of unhappy and unenriched Cockatoo’s. Peachy was a “rehomed” Moluccan. His family had acquired him but for one reason or another. He needed to be rehomed at age 3. Prior to my internship (and why I wanted to learn from Nancy) I visited Peachy about 3 times a week for over a month. Nancy strategically employs knowledgable, trustworthy and dedicated bird lovers serve her customers. I sometimes felt that I was being a pain in the A$$ by visiting Peachy so much and learning about Moluccan’s prior to taking Peachy home. After about my 40th visit with Peachy, I realized we were meant to be. Even so, before I could take him home Nancy made me sign a contract acknowledging that I knew what Peachy needed so that he could successfully integrate into my home. She looked me in the eye and spent 1:1 time coaching me about the specific needs that his species, a known difficult parrot – Moluccan Cockatoo – needed to become an exceptional, life-long pet. Check him out 14 years later! Great feather. Curious and happy.
14 years later, Nancy runs a stellar bird store in Wichita, KS. And, 14 years later, I’ve got my bird family in my” nest.” Smokey rocks, Peachy squawks. Both of these birds were given the foundation of love that THEY needed. A newly hatched chick and a rehomed cockatoo. While I’ve not kept in contact with Nancy, I silently observe her passion for parrots. It is real!
And, each and every day – Nancy’s passion for parrots influences me as I feed, talk to, scratch and love on Smokey and Peachy. I choose the bird supplies for BirdSupplies.com based on what Nancy would think and respect. Even if you don’t live in the town of Wichita, KS, you should consider a trip to Birds of Paradise to learn what it takes to rear an exceptional parrot. If you look at her Facebook pic – that tenderly loving look at her birds is real. I can attest to that!