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Parrot capture could be moved to Thursday

Despite the sentiments of the Port Orchard City Council, the Quaker Parrots residing atop a Mitchell Avenue cell phone tower will likely be moving to more modest accomodations — and the move could come even sooner than planned.

Kate Clark of the nonprofit Angel Wings Exotic Bird Rescue and Rehab in Kitsap County said she has been in touch with those planning to capture the birds and found out on Tuesday the original mid-June trapping date could be moved up to May 26.

Clark volunteered months ago to help capture and house the birds. She is a Port Orchard resident and a member of the Olympic Bird Fanciers Club and specializes in rescuing exotic birds.

Clark’s proposal includes trapping the birds, examining and treating them, quarantining the sick, separating the sexes to prevent further breeding and letting the parrots live on a piece of her property in a 10-by-20-foot heated, tarp-covered flight cage.

She has contacted numerous bird doctors and even the United States Humane Society and has received support. She expects to spend thousands of dollars out of her own pocket to care for the birds “for the rest of their lives, if all goes well.”

“I really feel that concern for the parrots is the No. 1 thing,” Clark said. “I would be lying to you if I said there wasn’t a part of me that wants them to go free. But there is also the reality that these birds would be surviving, not living.”

Clark said that even though some members don’t agree with trapping the birds, members of the bird club were on hand to help build the flight cage on Clark’s property.

However, the original owner of the parrots may be entitled to the birds after their capture.

“That will be an issue to be decided,” said Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) biologist Greg Schirato. “It could get ugly.”

Schirato said once the birds are trapped, they will be examined by a veterinarian and quarantined. He said any identifying leg bands and tattoos will be noted.

Schirato said the WDFW will not be present when the birds are captured and is adamant about the role the department will play in the placement of the birds.

“We are not deciding where those birds go,” Schirato said.

Schirato said he received a recent letter from the Port Orchard City Council asking the WDFW to reconsider its decision to have the birds trapped — but the decision had already been made.

In fact, he said, the documents included to help educate department decision-makers only reinforced his opinion that the birds need to be captured, due to their description as a “moderate threat.”

However, Schirato is sensitive to the wishes of the community.

“The sentiments of the community are obviously important,” he said.

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