Eagle Rare Life Award Nominee

Paula N Ashfield

Date Added

December 29th, 2014


Under My Wing Avian Refuge






The voting for the contest is closed

“A Mission Too Great to Leave to Chance ”

Running a sanctuary is a very rewarding and exhausting experience. It brings me too many levels of different emotions on a daily basis, the mental strain of dealing with the daily to do list, the not forget list, and keeping communiques open with hundreds of people each day alone can drive one to exhaustion. The daily care and maintenance of each individual bird in our care does take all my time and energy. Filling to recharge for me is spending relaxing time holding one of the birds that is starving for attention due to the neglect of their prior caretaker. I spend numerous hours of quality time with each bird and watch the difference in their life flourish.

Aldo, a Moluccan Cockatoo who was very open with me had suffered for 6 years without proper vet care before he was placed in my care. Vulnerable and in pain from a vertical untreated leg fracture, the malnutrition and anemia, liver issues and a respiratory infection did not help neither the Veterinary nor I could who worked very hard to help save his life. Caring for Aldo for two weeks then losing him changed the course of my life forever. Aldo stole my soul and with pure love and passion for the helpless birds like him. My compassion and hope for tormented parrots was ignited and I became compelled me to open a sanctuary I called Under My Wing Avian Refuge.

Suki is one of our Umbrella Cockatoo’s, a very fearful bird possibly due to repeated trauma suffered with past owners. Approaching his cage or even walking across the room will prompt him to jump off his perch and slam himself from bars to bars. Climbing them up and down as if he needs to run and hide. This has been a situation for many other birds that come in for care at Under My Wing. Working with Suki has been challenging. After 5 years in our loving and safe environment, he still wakes with nightmares and screams for hours. His only comfort is being wrapped in a towel and being held, it is here, where I am able to caress him. Hiding under a towel or blanket, he looks up as if he is saying thank you. Tears never seem to leave me as I hold him. Suki has made a lot of progress since he came. He is not traumatized and allows me to feed him his favorite fruit from my hand and to uncover him more and more as years and months go by. There are many years yet before Suki will, if ever be comfortable with any other human.

In sharing a brief summary on Aldo and Suki is just a minute glimpse of what life is like at Under My Wing. We shelter over 100 exotic birds that come from different States due to dramatic changes in their lifestyles. Unlike dogs and cats a parrot’s life is long lived (some breeds can live 80+ years). Their long-term care is expensive and can be overwhelming when running a facility. We treat and reform these beautiful creatures as best as we can back to health. It's the passion and excitement of a bird's progress that I wake up to each day that pushes me to help another bird with a hurt wing, plucking issues, and disabilities that they come in with.

This is my life. Their lives are my reward and glory. Our motto is “We embrace with love the many wings, who’s lives we transform.”

I appreciate your votes as I strive to win for Under My Wing since we can't give the freedom to these parrots that were destined to live in their own County and Rainforest we can at least make a huge difference in the way they live in our sanctuary. www.undermywing.org