by Christopher Zeoli
What started as a family’s love for parrots, became a lifelong pursuit to pioneer parrot welfare, education and conservation. In 1998, Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo, Claire Waggoner and Christopher Zeoli started Garuda Aviary in response to the heartbreakingly high frequency with which companion parrots are abandoned.
Starting in Sedona, Arizona in a renovated two car garage, Garuda Aviary’s humble beginnings were not much different than most parrot sanctuaries. Taking in rescued or abandoned parrots, and trying to find good homes for the adoptable ones is the usual mode of operation for parrot rescue organizations. But Garuda Aviary has always made itself primarily available to the most desperate cases. Parrots that had become “unadoptable” due the consequences of their previous mistreatment. Parrots that were repeatedly abandoned due to hyper-aggressive or neurotic behavior. And of course, parrots that were undesirable as pets due to typically unruly parrot behavior. All parrots with moderate to severe and chronic behavioral problems were always welcome at Garuda Aviary, with extremely problematic cases being a main focus.
With most rescues and sanctuaries working hard to find good homes for the adoptable animals, Garuda Aviary was always been drawn to care for the parrots that were least likely to be successfully placed in a typical home situation. So, it was decided to focus strictly on giving lifelong sanctuary to unadoptable parrots. Parrots with no hope for adoption could find their “forever home” here. And this is no easy niche to fill. Organizations that find homes for abandoned parrots receive some part of their funding from the adoption fees they charge. But providing lifelong sanctuary to unadoptable animals means that adoption fees are not a source of funding.
Nevertheless, Garuda Aviary would endure and grow to become one of the most noteworthy lifelong parrot sanctuaries in the United States.
Garuda Aviary has been featured:
•on NPR twice
•in the Washington Post twice
•WUSA9 News National and a follow up story on Channel 9’s local affiliate
•Voice of America
•various local newspapers
And our Director, Christopher Zeoli was invited to discuss parrot related issues at the University of Maryland’s Avian Sciences Department in 2017
Garuda Aviary has come a long way since that renovated 2 car garage. In a specialized masonry facility built specifically to accommodate the needs of these parrots, they live and interact in breed-specific habitats. And in warm weather, the flock goes outside to enjoy the spacious flight cage.
Garuda Aviary continues to educate the public on a group and individual basis about the needs of parrots in our homes and in their natural environments.
With specialized knowledge, experience, and a robust volunteer program, Garuda Aviary continues to be a proactive force for beneficial change in the world of parrots and people.
Please join us
Currently, Garuda Aviary receives numerous requests every week from people wanting or needing to relinquish their parrots. To continue our mission, we need your help.
Garuda Aviary is a 501(c)3 non-profit parrot rescue and lifelong sanctuary. Your generous donations are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law.
Check out our “Volunteer” page! If you have any further questions about volunteering, please let us know. Email: GarudaAviary@earthlink.net
18400 River rd. Poolesville, MD. 20837