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This coffee's for the birds

February 28, 2018
Jessica Salmond - News Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

If you have any toilet paper tubes laying around, save them up: Mom's Produce owner Heather Reagan is giving out free coffee in exchange for bird toy supplies.

Reagan is a client of Pam Denson, owner of A Tropical Touch Salon and Spa in Fort Myers. On Denson's one day off a week, she's also a volunteer for the Parrot Outreach Society in Punta Gorda, a bird rescue and adoption nonprofit run entirely by volunteers. She's been tirelessly working to make enrichment toys for the rescue birds out of recycled items - and she needs help finding supplies.

"If the birds are unhappy, they pluck out their feathers. They get stressed out," Denson said. "I try to make these toys to keep the birds happy."

Article Photos

A macaw at Parrot Outreach Society enjoys a mobile made by Pam Denson from mostly recycled materials. Courtesy photo.

Dogs and cats get lots of love, but birds are a bit left behind. Many species of pet birds can live to be a hundred years old, something many people don't consider when they get a bird for a pet, Denson said. So, if their owner dies or can't take care of them, they get passed on or left at a rescue.

"A lot of them live through more than one or two owners," she said.

As active, intelligent animals, they need something to do. Denson creates these mobile-like toys, from which hang a variety of things the birds can knock around or shred for fun. She also hides peanuts within the toy to add to the fun, she said.

"I've used everything that other people might throw away," she said.

Denson needs these kind of items that people might have lying around: empty pill bottles, paper towel or toilet paper tubes, plastic lids, shoe strings, non-nylon rope, wooden spoons or blocks, wire coat hangers, small plastic childrens' toys, strips of leather, bells, stainless steel chains and "S" hooks. Using the chain as the backbone, she attaches other items in varying lengths and sizes to create something fun for the birds to play with. Each mobile can take an hour and a half to make, and are 32 to 35 inches long. She tries to make enough so when she delivers the mobiles, each bird gets his or her own.

"My quest is to try to make them a little bit happier," she said. "Everybody got one at the same time, otherwise they're like 2-year olds, looking at you like 'why didn't I get one?'"

Reagan said that between now and March 8, anyone who brings in a full grocery bag of supplies for the bird toys can get one free cup of coffee in return for the generous act.

"Pam has one day off, and she spends it making these toys," Reagan said.

Mom's is located at 2450 Estero Blvd., and is open Mondays from 8 noon and Wednesday through Sunday from 8 4 p.m.



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