Virtual Vacation to Honduras

By Leslie Westbrook   |   November 19, 2020
Birds with chronic conditions remain at the Santa Barbara Bird Sanctuary for the span of their lives – and most parrot species live a very long life, as much as 80 years

We could all use a virtual vacation. Santa Barbara Bird Sanctuary board member Leslie Rugg reached out to me enthusiastically via email to get the word out about the parrot haven and rescue center in Summerland whose director of the Sanctuary is longtime Montecito resident Jamie McLeod. Birds with chronic conditions remain at the Sanctuary for the span of their lives – and most parrot species live a very long life, as much as 80 years. That requires food and care.

Losing both daily visitors and the ability to put on programs and events, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sanctuary has suffered a monetary crunch similar to other nonprofits. A November fundraiser via Zoom is on the books. The free, “virtual vacation” to Macaw Mountain in Honduras will take place on Sunday afternoon, December 13, at 2 pm PST.

Meanwhile, back at the Sanctuary, a “Red Tier” reopening for docent-led tours and walk-ins with all the safety and health measures accounted for is being instituted. Check with the sanctuary for more information. You can also meet some of the sanctuary “residents” and learn their stories, including a 55-year-old black palm cockatoo named Buddha that once belonged to the sister of the Shah of Iran who lived in Montecito.

“SBBS is a hidden gem that needs greater community awareness, especially during this time of the pandemic,” Rugg wrote. “The Sanctuary is a haven, rescue, and refuge for captive/companion parrot species. Birds come for two reasons: 1) a bird outlives its loving, caring owner; 2) a bird becomes a behavioral nuisance, often caused by owners who simply can’t meet its high demands, and may inflict unhealthy and dangerous damage to the owner, the home, as well as itself.”

For information, to sign up for the newsletter and receive updates, as well as for the “Virtual Vacation” Zoom link to the Honduras program led by Jamie McLeod (a second one is planned to Belize at a later date) go to or call 805-969-1944.

Rita’s Baacccckkkk

Longtime Summerland and Santa Claus Lane retailer Rita Villa of Bonita has closed her Santa Claus Lane shop and is getting ready to open her latest boutique, “Hacienda,” by Bonita Lifestyle, at 2272 Lillie Avenue. The shop will be open by appointment and to the public. More details to come soon, as the shopkeeper was still setting up at the time of this writing. Welcome back to Summerland, Rita! 

A Final Thought: The 2020 election is (mostly) over…

While the ballot counting that went over four days and nights sort of felt like Chinese water torture (to everyone, but perhaps most especially to all the candidates) and President-Elect Joe Biden and VP-elect Kamala Harris were my choices to lead our country for the next few years, it’s apparent we have some healing to do. Whatever side of the aisle you are on, let’s do our best to deal with the coronavirus, the economy, and take on really big important issues like climate change (yes, science is real!), a fair and honest press that isn’t called out as fake news, a welcome to our friends and neighbors and Dreamers that includes a path to citizenship, policing that doesn’t shoot young black men and women, and more. 

Congratulations to all the winners and gracious losers for hard-fought battles in our beautiful, complex democracy: those that prevailed and those who lost in our towns, our County, the Golden State, and across the land! A new day’s a coming – I can see the light! 


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