Birds of a feather flock…to the parrot sanctuary in Woodinville
This special spot in Woodinville is for the birds… literally! Here, birds of a feather flock together, with Christy Padilla taking them all under her wing.
Two hundred and fifty birds now live at Zazu’s House – a sanctuary started back in 2001. Among them: thirty Amazons, twenty African Grays, and about two hundred Macaws.
But back in 2001 when this aviary first began – they only had two birds. Zazu and Howard.
“Our family had two birds of our own,” said Padilla. “I was helping another rescue and she wasn’t able to take the large birds. Because we had a lot of experience with large birds and a large flight for our two birds, we offered to help them out.”
Two quickly turned to twenty, and the numbers kept rising as Padilla realized how big – and how heartbreaking – the need was for them to have a place to live.
“Most of these birds come from families that thought that they would make a great pet and that they would be able to keep the bird the length of its life,” said Padilla. “And twenty years in – it was too much.”
When people bring parrots into their homes, many don’t realize some can live eighty years or more.
Padilla has a passion for these beautiful birds.
Two large buildings (Main Flight and The Hotel) provide a safe haven for them at Zazu’s House, and each area has a lot of space: about 4,000 square feet inside and 2,000 square feet outside.
When it comes to making the birds feel comfortable, Padilla and her team have thought of everything. The land Zazu’s House is on used to be part of an orchard, and the still-standing trees are very welcome by the birds.
Circles made out of PVC and tied with fleece hang from the ceiling.
“I don’t know it it’s trees or PVC,” said Padilla. “[But] they love to climb! They’ll climb this wire more than flying. It’s like they’re in a jungle gym!”
Like people, the parrots have their own personalities. These feathered friends have fun in here too. We spotted Zazu, the bird that started it all – playing ‘peek-a-boo’ with Padilla.
In The Hotel, you’ll find birds who need a little extra TLC. Padilla introduced us to a green-winged Macaw named Elizabeth and shared her story.
“She belonged to a family and she kept making a big mess in their house,” said Padilla. “It was the husband’s bird who traveled during the week and was only home on the weekends, and the wife didn’t want it anymore so she brought her here.”
Padilla says for that many people, giving up their birds is tough.
“Most people that bring their birds here are devastated,” she said. “They feel like a failure. They feel like they failed the bird, and it’s very traumatic.”
With many creatures to take of, Padilla depends on a flock of helpers.
“We have approximately 65 volunteers off and on that come in every morning,” she said. “We feed and clean, and you look at it now and it looks like its been this way for a year – but we clean every day.”
Crissa Kauffman has been volunteering at Zazu’s House for five years.
“It’s one of the only places that has so much potential for the birds to be more like what they are meant to be they get to fly around a bit and be with each other,” said Kauffman.
At Zazu’s House, Padilla has created a nest where parrots can live long and happy lives.
“Well I love all animals, and I’ve rescued animals my whole life,” she said. “I just want to be a blessing for them – I just feel like that was my lot in life. I just believe God wanted me to be a shepherd of animals and so that’s what I do.”
Zazu’s House is a 501(c)3 charitable organization. Their mission is “to simply provide a safe and interesting environment for all birds who find their way to Zazu’s House.” While is is not open to the public, a tour can be arranged with a donation.