Happy Holidays, all!
On behalf of our flock, our volunteers and our board, a heartfelt thank you for your amazing kindness and generosity this year. It is only with your support that we are able to provide our birds with the love and care that these amazing animals deserve and to continue to spread the message that parrots were never meant to spend their lives in cages.
2016 has been another amazing year here at MAARS, and we all have much to be proud of. Just some of our highlights for the year include, the resurfacing of the floors in the back half of the building, our continued involvement with Art in the Hollow to share the amazing artwork the birds create as well as their stories, continuing classes for high school seniors to help ensure the next generation doesn’t repeat our mistakes in making these majestic creatures live out their lives in cages, working to expose adults with learning disabilities to the flock and watch the amazing and unique bond that these challenged adults are able to form with the parrots, a successful fundraiser in partnership with Studio H and an amazing toy party hosted by Valley View Vet Clinic.
In addition, as many of you know, MAARS was featured in a fantastic article in the Star Tribune in which we had the chance to share the plight of captive birds everywhere with an audience that might never have known about this crisis otherwise. Of course, we’re nowhere close to done. In 2017 we hope to replace the windows in the building and add solar panels to help increase our energy efficiency, and to continue the care and compassion we provide for our birds while working to highlight their struggle with the public and ensure the next generation of parrots never has to spend a day behind the bars of a cage, and we will need all of your help to make this happen.
In closing, we’d like to highlight the story of Oscar, one of the many amazing birds in our flock. Oscar is a wild-caught male Umbrella Cockatoo who came to MAARS a number of years ago. With a missing eye and other crippling injuries, we’ve always been amazed at how active he and his mate Bogie are. Even with his injuries, Oscar and Bogie can often be found marauding around our big bird room, side by side, finding new places to perch and toys to destroy.
A few weeks ago, he wouldn’t come out of his enclosure or step up for volunteers. We quickly realized that he was no longer able to see out of his remaining eye and was now totally blind. Worried volunteers gave him time and space, and we waited anxiously to see how he would handle this massive change. To our delight, within a day or two, he was back out of his enclosure and returned to his normal routine of exploring his surroundings with his mate by his side.
These birds have been through heartbreak and abuse, as many captive parrots have, but we are always struck by their perseverance, their sheer will to overcome what people or circumstances have done to them. They refuse to give up, they refuse to give in, and in their search to be whole again, we will always fight their battles alongside them for as long as they allow.
Each year, we can’t help but be humbled by the continued generosity and support each and every one of you show. Whether through contributions of time, money, or goods for the flock, without which our mission to help provide a place of healing, a place of peace, a place where these remarkable creatures can simply be birds again, would not be possible. Of course, we can’t continue the important work that we do to support, care for and provide healing for our feathered friends without you. We hope that we will be able to continue to rely on your support in 2017.
With deepest thanks and gratitude, we wish you the happiest of holidays.