Donna Powell, who founded the Yahoo group 911ParrotAlert, was living 60 miles outside of New Orleans in Baton Rouge, and became a safe haven for many birds that were brought out by their owners during the evacuation.  The group was designed to help reunite lost birds with their families, but suddenly it became a major center of bird rescue operations in the New Orleans area.  When I called her after seeing an email that she had more than 60 extra birds in her home, suddenly I had found someone who was helping birds and needed me.  I made the decision that I was going down there, and then searched to find other areas of need.

I looked on websites for the ASPCA, the HSUS, the AVMA, and Louisiana State University among others.  I found that all species of animals were being sent to a number of shelters in the region, so birds were scattered everywhere.  I managed to get in touch by email with Dr. Greg Rich, who had a home and clinic in New Orleans and is well known in the avian medicine community, and learned that he had evacuated to Florida with all of his patients.  He was in no position to try to help anyone else since he was without any place to live, much less practice, and there was nothing I could do to help him.

I also emailed Dr. Tom Tully at LSU, who is the president of the Association of Avian Veterinarians, and is an instructor at the veterinary school in Baton Rouge.  He was so overwhelmed by sick birds being sent to the school that he had not even been able to get across campus to see the birds that were being held in their facility.  He asked me to go to the Parker Coliseum at LSU, and the Lamar Dixon Expo center in Gonzales, which was the first place animals without known owners were taken.  He didn't know if they had veterinarians with any knowledge of birds, so he was very happy to hear from me with an offer of help.

The plan was now set.  I would leave Friday, September 9, and I had three places to go where an avian veterinarian was greatly needed.

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