I would say hello from Iowa, but that would be a lie as I am currently typing this from a sketchy hotel room in Seattle. We’ve had a huge battle with actually having internet these past two weeks, so I am very behind in my blogging – so let me catch you up to speed.
After Chicago, we made the trek to Letts, Iowa where I met with Mike and his lovely wife Abi. Mike runs in the Iowa Parrot Rescue, which is out in the middle of nowhere. Iowa is gorgeous farmland, but I have to admit I thought I might have gone into no mans land when we drove for about 2 hours without seeing anything but farms. It was a relief to pull up to the facility and see the attached aviary and Iowa Parrot Rescue vehicle sitting out front! Mike greeted us at the door with one of the resident birds, a beautiful scarlet macaw, and beckoned us inside.
Since Iowa Parrot Rescue was the first facility we visited, Mike was gracious enough to be the guinea pig for the procedure we are trying to follow with the questionnaire. At each facility we are taking a touring, sitting down with the staff member and/or founder, doing an interview and filling out the devised questionnaire, then doing a repeat walk through of the facility while taking photo and video. Originally I had devised the questionnaire to be filled out via a PDF editor on my iPad but found an awesome application that allowed me to simply go through the questionnaire and check off the answers as they were given, saving a lot of time and hassle. Additionally the questionnaire answers are stored on the ipad offline and can be exported into a csv and uploaded to a website database for quick implementation of the data. Having not used this software before Mike graciously allowed me some time to play with the application while walking through the questionnaire so we could work out any kinks in the system.
Iowa Parrot Rescue has a lovely large facility with an attached flight where the birds are allowed to fly and play, weather permitting. Mike has taken great lengths to make the facility run smoothly, while providing great care for the parrots. I was impressed to see that there is an area of free hanging gyms that allows some birds to be essentially cage free. Additionally I was pleased to see that Mike encourages each bird to find a feathered friend to hang out with and socialize, both out of the cage and in the cage. Birds are not allowed to breed and measures are taken to ensure bonded friends don’t reproduce, but buddy pairs are allowed to share cages.
Official data will be entered at a later date – I am also behind in uploading photos. I do encourage you to visit the Iowa Parrot Rescue website at www.iowaparrotrescue.org, and keep your eyes out for an interview with Mike to be published soon.