A documentary series

Janet Holt Hilton

As a member of the “Parrot Loving Community”, one would think you would need nothing more than a passion for parrots in order to become an effective contributing member of this community. You’d imagine that you’d have a driving need to help these birds, to care for them and to ensure a happy and fulfilled life for every bird in captivity.
You need the qualities noted above and much, much more. I am constantly learning that loving birds just isn’t enough. You have to be able to make things work in a positive healthy way.
As a result of earning my Master’s Degree in accounting, I’ve been an accountant, an adjunct professor and a Senior Vice President at a National Bank. I’ve always strived for a nice, tidy life where all the numbers add and fit in neat columns and rows. My proficiencies in both PC and Mac computer systems, QuickBooks, public accounting and organization are available to the avian community. I care about giving back to the community and have been involved in numerous civics groups and charitable organizations ranging from Kiwanis to volunteering as a tax preparer through AARP.
When you’re working with parrots, this just doesn’t happen. Life gets messy and working with parrots, it gets even messier when you add the “human” factor into the equation.
I always knew I had talent and a drive. I simply didn’t know how to channel it. It wasn’t until I discovered my love of aviculture that I realized my abilities for organization, connecting people with a cause, and getting people excited about something that could be put to work. A mid-life epiphany gave me a direction to channel my talents. Add to that my developing skills as a photographer roll it up in a ball, and that is who I am!
There’s something about finally finding where you fit that brings a deep sense of satisfaction. I managed to find that fit by being the dumbest person in the room. I am the first to admit that my “technical” knowledge and skills are at the lower end of the curve.
I’ve learned, however, that if you surround yourself with talent, brilliance, genius and creative people, you’re going to learn something. You raise your level of knowledge at a very rapid clip. I learned a lot about the field in a very short period of time by doing just that. When I discovered a need in the avian community for my particular abilities, it was like coming home.
As I experienced the huge gap in the avian community, I found a place where I could make a difference that mattered not only to me, but also to these incredible birds. Like many other people I entered the world of aviculture “sideways.” Unaware there were adoptable birds that needed homes, I purchased my umbrella cockatoo and blindly set out to be a good caregiver, not knowing there was a need for people like me. People who weren’t aware that great birds could be found not only from reputable, proven breeders, but also through the world of rescue. When I discovered the need, I finally found what I was meant to do.
I have always loved animals. I have had dogs and cats in my life since I was a child. As I learned and grew along with and side by side with my parrot, I saw there wasn’t the public support and outcry for parrots needing homes, being abused, hoarded and neglected.
My capacity for connecting people to this cause and getting people to care about what I am so passionate about have served me well in the past and it is my desire that it continue to serve this amazing cause. Being an effective person at working with these birds takes drive, intuition and a knack for connecting people with other people. It takes a passion for getting a job done the right way. And it takes an understanding of human nature.
After years of flapping around I have come to believe that “just loving birds” simply isn’t enough. I am neither judge nor jury, I am simply out to connect the dots, make information available, and hopefully by doing so will be a part of something that is much bigger than me, will outlive me, and maybe, just maybe make things better for some of these Parrots!