Rescued Parrots Used in PTSD Therapy
Before Serenity Park these birds self-mutilated: featherpluck, bloodbeak, broken. Through the compound a veteran runs the damaged birds: You’re flying! You’re flying! Though this lorikeet will never fly again, tangle of birdskin and buzzsaw, it flaps as if complicit in the ruse. A marine lines with battered birds his wheelchair. The tank gunner an expert on sunflower seeds given from lips to curving beaks. The parrots know who’s who and have their favorites. One loves a sailor. A macaw sings only for Jim. The sulfur-crested cockatoo chooses the helicopter pilot: Never has a bird let me down. One parrot spends each morning yelling Shut up or else! in the only cage the vets won’t approach before noon. These birds are hurting, Matt says, his good arm sweeping the whole of the park. Some vets won’t talk unless a bird’s close by. Some clean the aviary, weeping. Some parrots can’t be with another bird, consider themselves human, or near enough.