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Like the famous character portrayed on the big screen by Burt Lancaster, Barb has devoted a significant portion of her life to the care and understanding of birds. In fact, Barb’s nearly 13 years of volunteer work in the community’s aviary has affectionately earned her the title of “The Bird Lady of Lawrence Presbyterian Manor.”

However, despite the nickname, Barb hasn’t always been a “bird lady.” Ironically, she’s actually more of a cat person.

“I’ve always had cats—never birds,” said Barb. “But as a child, if we found little injured or orphaned birds or bunny rabbits my mom would take care of them. So, I learned to take care of wildlife back then.”

Barb’s responsibilities at the community include cleaning the aviary’s water and food dishes, changing out the floor bedding and checking nests for old eggs. It’s a job that has her at the community at least three times a week and at all times of the day and night.

“I’ve been there at 8:30 in the morning and 9:30 at night, it just depends on when the birds needed something,” said Barb.

But those frequent trips to the community don’t bother Barb, the close proximity to home provides a great opportunity to get some exercise and relieve some stress.

“It’s the perfect job for me because I can walk or ride my bike, and I can get away from the stress at home,” said Barb.

Most of all, Barb just enjoys the work. Not only does she get to learn about the birds housed at the community and have the personal satisfaction that comes with keeping them healthy and happy, but she gets to experience it all alongside the community’s staff and residents.

“I’m honored to have this job because PMMA has so many kind and caring people working here—and the residents are wonderful,” said Barb. “Together, we enjoy the sounds of the birds and the individual behaviors, personalities and beauty of each bird.”

PHOTO: None of the birds living in our aviary are from North America. They’re from Australia, China, Africa, South America and parts of Asia.

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