Photo by Jamieleigh Location: Cape Girardeau, Missouri Shown: My cat Ninja, my birds in travel cages and the rest of the circus waiting out tornado warnings
I've seen articles where people talk about being prepared for natural disasters and home evacuations. I've never really taken them seriously, I've always thought, "That won't happen to me, I won't need to do that..."
But then I lived on an island that was 7 miles, by 14 miles, that constantly had monsoons and occasionally, typhoon warnings. When we had warnings living there, we packed up all animals and drove to the highest point of the island; Mt. Tapochau. All I could think of was the movie Jumanji where the crocodiles or alligators, whichever, swam through the house... obviously, that would be sharks or other ocean related creatures for us on this island in the South Pacific, but still! The scare factor is what I'm getting at here.
Saipan and living there and having those warnings really prepared me to take these things seriously. Cape Girardeau, MO was no different!
I've never waited through so many tornado warnings in my life! The general manager of the circus called and told all us animal people that we had 15 minutes to get our animals inside the arena to safety, away from doors or windows, before the bad weather started to hit us.
I packed all 8 of our birds (Dave was out of town, by the way, not just out of town, on the other side of the country!) into their travel crates and wheeled them into the arena. I made a second trip for my cat, secured my RV and settled into the bleachers of the arena when the elephant trainer begged me to go back out for his dogs. He had been so focused on the elephants, and his wife was out of country who normally looked after the dogs, that he had left them in his RV and pulled in all his slide-outs. I raced back out and brought back the one dog I could find in the RV, the second had gotten trapped in another bedroom when he had brought the slide-outs in, in a hurry.
Another trip out and another dog secured to the safety of the arena.
We waited for hours, the acrobats played a game of soccer, constantly sharing the ball with the elephants. The birds cheered them on, or screamed at them, same thing ;)
Either way, I was so thankful to be prepared to evacuate all my birds easily, efficiently, and FAST. As well as by myself. Make sure you have travel carriers ready to go, and things in place for when an emergency strikes. It's so important, and it WILL happen to you, even if you think it won't.
Article by Jamieleigh Womach. She has been working with parrots and toucans since the age of 17. She isn’t homeless but is home less than she prefers to be. She travels the world with her husband, daughter, and a flockful of parrots whom she shares the stage with.