Best Secret Bird Therapy - 2011
Serenity Park Parrot Sanctuary
On the sprawling grounds of West L.A.'s Veterans Administration complex, you might hear an exotic, 100-decibel din. "Every day I hear the birds squawking and screaming," Glenn, a Desert Storm vet, tells us. "And then their people show up, and they're happy." The people he's referring to are residents of New Directions, a rehabilitation program for veterans suffering from PTSD, addiction and other issues. The birds — rare and exotic macaws, parrots, parakeets and cockatoos — have all been rescued or confiscated from private owners. Former New Directions Clinical Director Lorin Lindner witnessed a transformation among her tough-as-nails patients when they visited her cockatoo rescue, so she hatched a plan for the first bird rescue on U.S. government property. Serenity Park Parrot Sanctuary, open to the public, complements the facility's 27-acre Veteran's Garden, itself a horticulture therapy program, and is not only an ornithological oasis but home to some serious healing, reminding us all that, as the sign says, "If they have wings, they shall fly." parrotcare.org/Parrots.html.