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Parrot situation still as muddled as ever

Summer began Tuesday with a flash of rough weather and a dismal realization for Port Orchard resident and free-parrot enthusiast Fred Olin — the parrots of Mitchell Avenue may be closer to capture than he had been hoping.

The capture, which has been postponed and rescheduled several times over the past few months, seems to be imminent with the arrival of a young Quaker parrot borrowed from a breeder in Centralia for the purpose of luring the birds into the cages.

The tower on which the nest is located has not been taken down, however, though the completed tower next to it stands high above.

“After watching them react to the calls of this new, young bird, I am convinced that this strategy will work,” Olin said.

Cate Clark of the nonprofit Angel Wings Exotic Bird Rescue and Rehab in Kitsap County 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.

“These rescue people don’t care about freedom,” Olin said. “They are concerned that these birds get a balanced diet and protection from predators. They are convinced that their cages are better for them — that’s what the hobby and business is all about.”

Meanwhile, there has been confusion as to whether the birds are even scheduled to be captured or whether they will be left alone. Port Orchard Mayor Kim Abel denies the city has anything to do with rumors that the birds will not be trapped.

“We aren’t stopping anyone from catching the birds,” Abel said. “I think those involved are making that decision on their own because they’re unsure of what (the city) is going to do.”

According to Abel, the original tower has remained erect because the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WSDFW) requirement that the birds be caught and the nest removed in order for the tower to come down has not yet been met.

“Feeding the birds away from the traps has been working very well,” Olin said, adding that he hasn’t given up hope. “People have been putting out seed all over town — I gave away three or four sacks to each person that asked about them.”

Olin said he is not giving up and he is surprised this particular cause has become so important to him.

“Saturday, (I) went to Olympia to hear Mark Bittner speak and show slides of his parrots in San Francisco,” Olin said. “He introduced me and I shared our dilemma. There were three ‘parrot people’ there from Port Orchard and the breeder from Centralia. I offered to buy the young parrot from her for any price, but she would not sell.”

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