Bird is the word
Libby Baird has taken care of the birds at Periwinkle Park for the last 25 years. Baird, who does her informative bird shows on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays at 10 a.m., said the main reason does the shows is to caution people against having parrots as pets.
This is because oftentimes, birds are given up due to a number of reasons or in many cases, they end up outliving their owners.
“All of the birds here have been re-homed,” Baird said.
Baird who is a seasonal resident from Canada, said she became interested in the birds after she and her husband Dave, who also helps her take care of them, began staying in Periwinkle Park.
Baird said that she and her husband discovered Sanibel after the two of them took a semester off from teaching.
“As we were going down through Florida in this little 9×7 trailer, somebody said told us to go to Periwinkle Park on Sanibel,” she said. “Ever since then, we’ve been coming back.
When Baird began visiting Sanibel, she initially started out just feeding them and cleaning their cages.
“I just fell in love with them, nobody else paid them any attention” Baird said.
After retiring from teaching in 1996, Baird began doing her famous bird shows from Nov. 1 to May 1.
“The shows last about an hour,” she said.
Baird said that around Christmas, she can have up to 100 people attend. She also said that she has trained some of the kids who are regulars, to help her with her show.
“I spend about four hours a day with the birds. My husband and I make a lot of their toys because they’re so expensive and they’re born to chew,” she said. “(During the shows) I share information about the birds and where they come from.”
Periwinkle Park hosts a wide variety of parrots that Baird oversees. In the enclosures, there are budgies, cockatoos, sun conures, macaws and an African grey. The park also has lemurs and squirrel monkeys.
To supplement the costs of caring for the birds, Baird sells pictures, DVDs, woodcarvings and postcards which can be “autographed” by the birds.
“The money goes to towards their toys and vet bills,” Baird said.