AFA's Hurricane Relief Efforts


From the day after the first hurricane passed, Fred Smith, AFA Regional Director for Florida and Puerto Rico, has been actively working to help those in need. Most of Fred's days begin at 5:00 A.M. as he gets in his truck to head out to help people all over southern Florida and doesn't end until he pulls in his driveway around midnight. He has been the focal point of offers of assistance, monetary and physical. Numerous people, organizations, and businesses have donated money, caging, food, and labor to get their fellow aviculturists on their feet again.

Fred has always been known for his great sense of humor, which has been sorely taxed in the past weeks. Typical of Fred, though, he sent out the following email to the bird world to solicit help with the relief efforts:

Great Vacation Opportunity!

How about coming to Florida where you can enjoy the sunshine! We offer it in a variety of ways! Hor Sunshine, Mild Sunshine, Liquid Sunshine, slight breezes. Heck. we even offer it in large amounts 1f vou think you can handle if I Remember; its not for thefaint-of-heart! LOLI

While here, you can spend your time helping fellow aviculturists get back on their feet - removing tree branches, repairing cages, etc.

As an Aviculturist yourself,' you know how withdrawn you are when a disaster happens, not asking for help, thinking that there is surely someone else in worse shape?? Well, let s band together and help those in need right now -- 3 Hurricanes is toooooooo many! !fall you can do is to come down and stand on the banks and keep Ivan all'ay it would be greatly appreciated!


!fyou are willing tojump at the chance al a lifetime and come to Florida and help out, contact me.

The Birds Will Thank You For It.

Remember - They are depending on Us'

And he certainly has gotten help to those in need. Dr. Susan Clubb has been diligently following up on her breeder clients and letting Fred know where he is needed. One gentleman had no idea where to start on getting his yard and aviary back together until Fred showed up. Many folks only needed some seed to tide them over, and the donations of products from both Sun Seed and Janis Clark made their lives so much easier and gave them one less thing to worry about.

Fred has been to numerous breeders helping to drag branches and trees off of cages, chop up the branches, repair cages, and get birds to safety. The outpouring of support from the avicultural community has been extraordinary! Fred has received many calls and emails from people willing to help - from California to New York. A gentle-

man loaded up his tractor with a front loader and 4-wheel-drive truck and drove all the way from Texas to Southern Florida to help lift large tree trunks off of cages!

Many of the challenges facing the

Florida Aviculturists after the

Hurricanes are:

1. Fire Ant bites! With the ground full of water from the Hurricanes, the ants are cl irnbing on downed trees, cages on the ground, and anything else that has to be picked up and therefore the workers get bites all over them. Fire Ant bites Hurt!

2. Mosquitoes! With water

standing everywhere, mosquitoes are hatching eggs on every mud puddle there is. We don't even have time to worry about West Nile and that should be a great concern!

3. The Stress on the birds - especially the birds that have been put in temporary cages. The cages are much smaller then the birds are used to and they get upset as much as we do. only stress to a bird can be and is dead-

ly in many cases. To get the birds back in their original cages first requires removing the downed trees on it, then if the cage needs repaired it takes time for that. If the cage has to be replaced, then this stresses the birds as everything is new to them. Many times the nest boxes are not their original one and thus do not smell like theirs. All of this stress lasts over several days or weeks.

4. Watching the TV - The aviculturists are always trying to keep an eye on the TV lo see where the next storm is heading. This is time consuming and stressful on them as they are working as fast as possible to get everything back in order only to see that another hurricane is coming. Do they make permanent repairs or do they make temporary repairs until after the hurricane season is past - 111 November?

Plus, the birds have to be fed every day before any work can be done.

On the surface, many times everything seems okay with breeders, but when Fred talks to them and asks if they could use some assistance, he finds the true situation behind the smiling face. Many aviculturists are afraid of repercussions from others because they didn't take all the birds inside or protect them better. We have all seen some of the comments on the [nternet concerning this from people who aren't there. Fred has personally helped more than 20 aviculturists as of this writing and helped orchestrate assistance to many others with the local bird clubs in Florida.

Fred had a small breeder call him wanting to know if anyone could use some small cages, as they sold several of their birds after Frances. After prodding her more, Fred found that her husband is a salesman and because of the storms he has to work everyday and was not able to work on rebuilding their aviaries; but then Fred found out the real story was-that they didn't have money to rebuild the cages, roof, etc. When he asked her if she could use some feed she started to break down.