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Living with 19 rescue cockatoos

Parrots magazine May 2012

- with another always on its way…

Gail Masters, assistant to top avian veterinary surgeon Alan K. Jones, BVetMed, MRCVS, has loved birds ever since she was a toddler and befriended a dove in her garden. As a young teenager, Gail began taking in unwanted and injured birds, and 25 years later she is still rescuing birds and has a huge mixed collection at her home in Surrey. A few are long-term ‘boarders,’ but the majority are permanent residents, and in the last year, Gail has opened her doors as a holiday home for short-term stay parrots, when Alan ran out of room!

I have always had a soft spot for the odd bods and disabled birds. They are the ones I want to look after - the ones no-one else wants. But, it is cockatoos I have a special affinity with, and I currently have 19 housed in our dining room and conservatory. Cockatoos, popular for their baby-appeal, regularly turn up as rescues.

At 16 I worked part-time in a pet shop, and I got to hear of more unwanted birds, and many came my way. After a few months I went to Ambassador Birds, a large parrot retailer importing and exporting parrots. This was my dream job, but very hard for a young shy girl. In the two and half years I was there though, I gained a lot of confidence, and even more unwanted birds.

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