Saturday, December 4, 2010

Midday at the Oasis (exotic bird sanctuary)

I had the great pleasure of visiting The Oasis Sanctuary today, located near Benson, AZ. The Oasis is a bird sanctuary specializing in providing permanent care and shelter for parrots and other captive exotic birds. Currently the Oasis is home to about 650 exotic birds, mostly parrots. Parrots can often live to be 60 to 80 years old, which means they can outlive their caretakers and need to find new homes. Click pics for bigger images.

In addition to large walk-in fly-in aviaries, there are a lot of birds in smaller cages with fewer birds depending on the bird's history, condition, whether it get along well with others, etc.

one of several large aviaries where parrots can socialize, fly, and get support from the flock. This aviary had a number of African Grey Parrots.


one of the people on our tour gets a picture while our great tour guide fills us in on the history of this particular bird, one that she herself rescued

the vast majority of birds that we saw seemed to really "enjoy" having visitors -- its easy to pick up on their intellect watching how they interact with humans, each other, and different bird species

my theory is that this is what happens when a green parrot flys through a rainbow..

kind of reminds me of a parrot version of a painted bunting that I've seen in the wild

fortunate for them that there are no "Post, No Bills" signs anywhere...

ok, remember the two guys in the balcony of the old Muppets Show? I'm just saying...

hopefully not looking for nuts...

These are two of the parrots that Mark Bittner, featured in the movie "The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill", brought here sometime ago to be rescued. That's a great documentary/movie if you ever get a chance to see it. That movie is actually the first time I had ever heard of the Oasis, many years ago.

simply incredible
I was about to take a picture of the middle bird and the other two quickly moved into the picture, no doubt to give me a "field guide" style portrait, front, back, side profiles..

The Oasis Sanctuary is a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Per their brochure: "As a true Sanctuary, The Oasis does not breed, adopt out, sell or trade birds. Once a bird enters the doors of Oasis, they are guaranteed a lifetime of care and compassion. To ensure the safety of as many birds as possible, The Oasis has developed proactive relationships with bona fide Avian adoption programs around the country, who work to find loving and educated homes for unwanted, adoptable birds."

The Oasis Sanctuary provides tours, by appointment only. Remember, the Oasis is an exotic bird rescue / shelter operation, not a zoo.  The Oasis survives through donations.  They require a minimum of two weeks advance notice to schedule a tour and request a Sanctuary donation of $10.00 per person. Located in the general Benson, AZ area, see their web site for more info.

Its an amazing planet we live on. Wish we humans took better care of it.


  1. Great story and photos, Warren. When we lived in Mexico, many restaurants had parrots (or macaws). I think they had been clipped so they wouldn't fly but if you walked over to one and offered an arm or shoulder, they'd climb aboard. I had a friend who lived in Guaymas who owned an African Grey. I could tell you stories about his speaking ability!

  2. @Catalyst -- thanks! One that I really enjoy seeing in the wild is the Elegant Trogan which is sometimes seen as far north as the Chiricuahua / Santa Rita mountains in southern Arizona -- I once saw a whole flock of them along a river down near Alamos in Sonora, Mexico.


Comments are always appreciated, they let me know if anyone is actually reading my blog too!