Pandemonium Aviaries fundraises for new home

Town Crier File Photo
Michele Raffin, pictured in this file photo from 2012, plans to move the birds at Pandemonium Aviaries to a new location on the East Coast.

After 24 years at a secluded sanctuary in Los Altos Hills, Pandemonium Aviaries is set to move to the East Coast.

Leaders of the nonprofit organization hope to relocate sometime this spring to Sylvan Heights, N.C.

“We are sending the birds to a great conservation organization that can continue our work of saving species by growing and ‘banking’ genetically diverse flocks of important species from countries that are not doing enough conservation on-site yet,” said Michele Raffin, Pandemonium founder and CEO.

Raffin launched Pandemonium in 1996 after what she described as a chance encounter with an injured bird. The facility evolved into a “last-chance” bird sanctuary for exotic birds that were being discarded by breeders.

“Keeping the birds alive is not enough,” she said. “We also preserve their ‘culture’ by how we raise them. Our intent is to one day return these birds to the wild when it is safe to do so. They will need learned as well as innate skills to survive.”

Pandemonium has raised $800,000 in its $1 million capital campaign to build species-appropriate housing in its new home.

“The new habitats will be really large and beautifully crafted,” Raffin said. “Our birds will be so happy there. For example, our cranes, who now only have a kiddie pool to bathe in, will have a quarter-acre of marshland to call their own. … At their new home, we expect they will raise clutch after clutch in safety and comfort.”

Raffin said Pandemonium is $200,000 short of its capital campaign goal, and it’s important to reach its target soon.

“We very much need public help,” she said. “In addition to help with funding the habitats, we’re looking for a donation of transportation via private jet. The trip would be tax deductible because the birds are part of a conservation effort. Many of these are the last of their kind, and flying by private air is the safest way. In essence, our birds need someone’s wings.”

As part of the fundraising, Pandemonium is offering those donating $100 or more special visits to the sanctuary.

“If people want to see the birds for the first time or say goodbye after knowing them for a long time, now is the time,” Raffin said.

Those interested can stop by Pandemonium’s office at 340 Second St. in Los Altos to make a donation and pick up an invitation. Checks may be sent to the office or to PO Box 240, Los Altos 94024.

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