For anyone who missed it, Birdhism has officially moved to Birds Of Paradise Sanctuary & Rescue, Inc. in Bradenton, FL! I'm here to help the birds in anyway I can through hard work and the use of my design skills, as is my life's mission.
For years, my dream has been to run a sanctuary. Whenever discussing the future with friends and even coworkers, this would be the first thing that came to mind, and now that's exactly what I'm in training for! Debbie (founder/president) intends to hand off BOPS to me in the distant future. The idea is a bit over-whelming right now, but I still feel very blessed.
Officially, I'm a volunteer Marketing Director at BOPS since I like having a creative-based title, but I also have my hand in other operations as I'll discuss below.
I'm still working on Birdhism; we are in partnership. The items sold on Birdhism's Web store will help me stay as a volunteer full-time and aid BOPS financially.
As time goes on, one of my many goals is to fund more and more of the operations through the sales of Birdhism merchandise so we don't have to rely solely on donations. (Pay for cute bird merch to help the cute birds, pls and thank!)
In the meantime, you can donate to BOPS directly if you have the means. We're a 501(c)3 and donations are tax deductible. I'm seeing first hand that running this place can get really expensive and anything would really help.
Another way people can help is if anyone is in the Bradenton area and would like to volunteer on the property. Please call Debbie at (727) 366-9997 for details on that.
If you have misc. skills (video, animation, fundraising, web design) email me at email@example.com and maybe we can work on projects together. I'm currently trying to learn Adobe Premier CC so I can do video updates too, but it's slow going with all my new and old responsibilities.
You can also donate bird toys or food to:
Birds of Paradise Sanctuary & Rescue
17020 Water Line Srv Rd,
Bradenton, FL 34212
To donate directly to the vet tab:
River Landings Animal Clinic
6140 53rd Ave E, Bradenton, FL 34203
Another goal is to build a "Birdhist Temple" where people can gather to socialize with the people-friendly birds, host educational classes, and recruit volunteers. I would really love to turn BOPS into something like Sri Swamiji's Shuka Vana.
I think Debbie's more focused on getting a medical triage built, which would be really nice, so this can be put on the back burner for now. That's ok. I'm planning on staying here for a long time.
I didn't take everything from my parents' place, mostly necessities that could fit into a tiny UHaul Trailer. Things like large cages, bike, clothes, office equipment, bird toys, select books, misc. mementos, and obviously my birds. My flock of 25 were in tow in both my Yaris and Debbie's 4Runner. She towed the trailer because my little Yaris sure wasn't.
We took a break on the ride over from Boca Raton, FL to Bradenton, FL. Cody immediately demanded snuggles. I obliged.
Currently, I'm living in a bedroom in the main house and will eventually be moved to a RV by the large flight cages. The RV needs a decent amount of work, I'm hoping to have some friends come over to help with fixing it. The person who was in it last wasn't very nice to it.
For the first few days, I had my printer and cutter in the closet, and my computer was placed on a small dresser. Luckily, we were able to set up the office a few days ago, so no more designing and filling packages on the floor!
Birdie Boot Camp
Sunday, we were void of volunteers, and another resident on the property was off that day, so I was immediately launched into the goings-ons of tending to the 350+ birds. We started around 7am and didn't get finished until 3pm. That's just with two people getting everybirdy fed. It was nice meeting and talking to all the birds, and seeing all the work this place needs on a daily basis.
Think about that. There's 350 birds that have been surrendered here. The majority are permanent residents and some are available for adoption. People really need to understand that taking a bird into your home is a lifelong commitment, even beyond that as many birds will outlive us.
Fortunately, we had volunteers to help for most of the week so I was able to be trained in other areas.
The next day, Cody helped with errands, which including picking up bulk food from a warehouse in Tampa. He's such a good helper.
I met with the sanctuary's avian vet, Dr. Bonda. We were picking up Monkey the Macaw as he was staying there for a few days for medical evaluation. He's back home now and is getting treatment for his eyes. I think he's making real progress and acting more as a Macaw should.
Another day, I helped train a new volunteer to help with feeding and poop-scraping the flight cages. Not very exciting, but necessary! No one was bit! Yay!
I do get time daily to work on orders and new designs. If we're short handed any day or other responsibilities pop up, I'm available to jump in to help.
My morning routine has been tending to the house birds, which includes special needs birds, adoptables, and my flock. I wake at 7am and get finished around noon. I'm off on Sundays.
This past Sunday I explored the area on my own and found the perfect sign to hang on the property at a local Flea Market.
Needless to say, this place is work, but it's work enjoyed. Birds have the intelligence of 3 year old humans, and just like 3 year old humans, they deserve love, care, and compassion. I want to continue to give love, care, and compassion and inspire others to do the same through both Birds of Paradise and Birdhism.