It was another eventful year for the flock! This year, we had many terrific milestones.
We received some very generous funding from the Del Mar Foundation and installed brand new and attractive signage in and around Free Flight. It is now much easier for passersby to locate us. Our in-yard educational plaques have boosted the look of the sanctuary and help visitors take away fun avian facts!
We celebrated another spring with our annual Brunch with the Birds.
Our outreach team participated in many new events and attended schools, senior centers, and other community centers. Among our favorite memories were hosting a booth the City of El Cajon's, "America on Main Street" street fair in May, and attending book talks alongside Mina Javaherbin, author of "The Secret Message."
Sadly, we lost one of our most treasured flock members this year. "Paco," an adorable elderly Mexican Red-Headed Amazon gained his second set of wings in June. His life partner, "Cisco," a Double Yellow-Headed Amazon faced a difficult transition, however, thanks to the love and patience of volunteers, has overcome her grief.
Over the summer, we hosted our 5th annual Junior Docent Program. Seven new teen docents now give volunteer regularly, helping care for the birds and educate sanctuary visitors. We put on our Parrot Camp for younger kids, who enjoyed learning all about parrots and gained more bird-handling experience.
We also launched our Senior Docent Program this summer! Hopefully you have already met Beth, Larry and Carol, who volunteer regularly, acting as interpreters and help us foster an appreciation of the intelligent, loving creatures who reside in our care.
Fall came, and with it our annual fundraiser. This was our second year hosting a Carnival-style event and 2016's theme of Candy Land was a hit! We raised proceeds for the birds, but more importantly, we celebrated with clients, members, volunteers and visitors - all the individuals who make it possible for us to do what we do for the birds.
In December, we held an Avian Enrichment Workshop and sipped hot cocoa and coffee as we created foraging and chew toys for our birds. Our Holiday Toy Drive wound up being our most successful one yet, with over 60 new toys donated, as well as the funds to buy new toys for our 50+ resident birds just in time for Christmas.
Now that winter is here, we are filled with gratitude for the wonderful year that was had. Ten new birds now call Free Flight their home -
And we had 8 successful adoptions -
As if these successes were not enough to make 2016 great, we increased our annual income from sanctuary admissions by 32%. And with the generous help of Ark Antiques, the County of San Diego's Neighborhood Reinvestment Program and donors like you, we also raised 25% of our goal toward our Capital Campaign for new stainless-steel cages by Animal Environments BCBYC!