Anza Avian Refuge!


Two very friendly baby Great Green Macaws. They love to hop on your shoulder and play with your hair. (Please click to enlarge!)

Anza Exotic Birds/Avian Rescue is a bird and animal rescue facility in Anza California. It is owned by Kathleen Willhelm.

Anza, Kathleen, and her bird and animal inhabitants, are all quite fascinating.


Scarlet Macaw. (Please remember to enlarge for optimal viewing!)

Lets’s start with Kathleen. She was a stock broker working on the 80th floor in Manhattan, who decided after 9/11, and the death of friends and co-workers, that stock brokering was no longer for her, and that she was wasting her life. So she pulled up stakes, purchased a 26 acre ranch in Anza California, and started her exotic bird and animal rescue.


Blue Macaw.

She has over 1000 birds.

Many are handicapped, missing feet, parts of their beak, or are blind. Others were relinquished by owners who decided they couldn’t manage their bird. Quite a few of the parrot species survived owners who predeceased them, since parrots have long life spans. Some were scheduled for euthansia. Kathleen is breeding several species of endangered birds.

Many of her birds talk fluently. Most are immensely gregarious, and prone to hop on you when you least expect it, for a friendly visit!

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The rare and highly endangered Golden Conure, AKA Queen of Bavaria. I was enchanted by these birds.

I have been to many bird breeders, stores, refuges, etc., over the years, but I have never seen a collection of such happy, healthy, contented birds. Kathleen is not interested in adopting out her birds unless she screens you and makes sure you are worthy of her birds.

Good for her!


She guarantees that her birds don’t bite and they don’t. This is a no-brainer, because her birds are content.

She hooks new birds up with companion mentor birds. Birds with special needs are not adopted out, but accommodated. She has a team of dedicated volunteers who work in her facility,  and she runs an oncology rehab program, that hooks up elderly Anza cancer patients with rehab birds, who cheer the patients up.

I don’t know about you, but I would chuck being a stock broker in a heartbeat to do what Kathleen does. She rocks!

Check out more of her happy birds.


Sulphur Crested Cockatoo.

In my next post I will introduce you to some of the other animals Kathleen has acquired as her rescue reputation has spread.  She has a whole menagerie of happy, well cared for animals, including abandoned doggies, Patagonian Guinea Pigs, Pot Bellied Pigs, two skunks, one named Flower……you get the idea.


This is a baby Sun Conure and a bird I am considering adopting, but not until February of 2014.

Kathleen selected a most interesting area to open her refuge.  Anza is a semi-desert community in an isolated part of California in the San Jacinto mountains, right above the descent down the mountains, into the Mojave Desert. It is located about an hour and a half east of The Holler. “It is estimated that the Cahuilla aboriginal tribes inhabited the area now known as Anza more than 2000 years ago” and first encountered white invaders in 1774.  It is a community of around 4,000 people according to the 2010 census.

Here’s what Wiki says about Anza, “Due to its history and relative isolation for hundreds of years, Anza is dissimilar to many areas in California settled during the same period. The cultural identity of many long-time Anzans exhibits the marked influence of Cahuillan aboriginal culture on the White population, expressed in terms of art and folklore.”

Anza is a wonderful place with interesting residents, like Kathleen.

Oh, and Red Skeleton lived here, in his ranch on Burnt Valley Road.

Reference source:,_California


This is  a Derbyian Parrot, a bird Kathleen recommends for me, as they love to travel!


Moluccan Cockatoo.

For more info on Kathleen and her awesome animal operation check out:

Cheers to you from wonderful Anza, and the cutest baby pot-bellied pigs you will ever have the opportunity to play with!