While I attended school at UCSD I had some pretty easy going jobs such as being a nanny to a 16 year old, a “mothers helper”, and a tutor to several local high school kids. It was through these odds-and-ends jobs that I fell in love. On one of my several “TO DO” lists from one of the mothers was to pick up the dogs prescriptions from the veterinary office. As I pull up to 1940’s California style bungalow veterinary office I heard the loudest, oddest noise. Parrots! Right there in the middle of Del Mar was a jungle paradise – a still canopy of trees anchored the rambunctious chatter of cockatoos, macaws, and even a free roaming East African Crowned Crane named “Princess” (photo below)! I fell in love as soon as I walked through the gates of FreeFlight and walked so close to colorful creatures that I had only seen from afar at the LA Zoo. Now, I have 2 parrots of my own: LittleWing (a Greenwing Macaw) and Ozzi (White Bellied Caique) – I adore them. They’re simply amazing. I fell so hard for this species that it inspired my neurology research to focus on animal cognition.
I ended up working at FreeFlight for about 2 years and I miss it dearly. Everytime I am back in Southern California I make a point of stopping by to see familiar faces, both avian and human.
And just for fun, here is one of my bird: Little Wing