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Natural Awakenings Chicago

Kotori’s Story Illustrates Exotic Bird Issues

Sep 25, 2014 04:40PM

Local animal rights activist Richard Weiner states, “After the untimely death of our beloved Pierce this year, a red-tailed hawk we had rescued from euthanasia, we wanted another bird to carry on the legacy of educating the public about the wonders of our avian co-habitants of the planet. Karen, my wife and co-director at A Refuge for Saving the Wildlife, began an exhaustive search for another non-releasable bird.

“After several months of searching, she found two eastern red-phase screech owls at the Ohio Bird Sanctuary, both of which had been involved in accidents with motor vehicles, leaving them unable to live in the wild. Once we decided on the bird, Karen began to go through a search for the perfect name when she eventually settled on Kotori, which is Hopi Indian for ‘screech owl spirit’.

“We completed the necessary paperwork for the transfer and drove six-and-a-half hours to pick her up. They packed a cooler of frozen white mice and we carefully packed her in the car for our long trek back. Once we returned home, she moved into a flight cage complete with a box to hide in and all the accoutrements necessary to feel at home. She had spent about one-and-a-half years at the previous sanctuary and we began working with her daily to get her comfortable with us and ready to make her debut.

“Since then, Kotori has become quite comfortable with being handled, has gained about 30 grams and has made several guest appearances. Her next debut will be at Green Festival, located at Navy Pier, from October 24 to 26. She may be a bit sleepy since she is nocturnal, but she will make a guest appearance along with many of our adoptable parrots.”

A Refuge for Saving the Wildlife educates the general public about the care of parrots and living harmoniously with wildlife, raptors in particular. They provide experience working with parrots to see what living with them is really like. On Thursdays, a group of volunteers from a home for kids with many issues that include autism, depression, suicide and other special needs joins in.

The refuge finds families that can understand the commitment of living with parrots for birds that are deemed adoptable. They provide behavioral counseling for problems that arise when family and parrot relationships falter and investigate reports of neglect/abuse situations with parrots.


Richard and Karen Weiner own and operate A Refuge for Saving the Wildlife, Inc., in Northbrook, a nonprofit parrot rescue, rehabilitation, adoption and sanctuary location. They provide education to the public and investigate animal abuse and neglect. For more information, call 847-509-1026 or visit RescueTheBirds.org.