HARMONY- Siesta Sanctuary for parrots had their annual holiday open house earlier Saturday.
In Harmony, the volunteers at the Siesta Sanctuary help Fritz and Margaret Buschman, the co-owners of the sanctuary, take care of about 75 parrots.
Many of those parrots have a painful history, as they were given up by their previous owners.
“Parrots live so long its really hard to have them as pets because eventually the people move or die or something and the parrots are left with no home. Parrots in the wild would mate for life so this is very stressful to the parrots,” Margaret Buschman said.
She said the life expectancy of those parrots is between 50 and 80 years and with the high intellect of the birds, they deeply feel and understand the emotional pain of splitting up from their owners.
To help the parrots cope, the Buschmanns and the volunteers take care of the birds and even let them interact with the public occasionally.
”The open house is a great way to share the beauty of parrots, I mean these are wonderful creatures and it seems silly to sit here in the house and never have anybody see them,” she said.
During the open house, kids got to touch, play with and even hold the parrots.
“Kids love it. And we’ve even had a situation a couple of times where a kid came with pretty severe autism and wouldn’t even come into the house at first. But they stayed all afternoon and by the end of the day, they’re cuddling with Henrietta who is our ambassador. So it’s pretty cool, animals speak to kids really well,” she said.
She also said it cost the sanctuary $16,000 a year to feed the parrots.
There are three open houses a year.
One in April, one in August and a final one between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
To learn more about the sanctuary visit Siesta Sanctuary’s Facebook page.