In a city that has a wildly famous reputation for over-the-top experiences, there is nothing like reading about the charity and generosity of our community that brings me back to reality.  Last week, I didn’t just get to read about it, but I witnessed it when Wayne Newton welcomed 200 rescued lovebirds into his 42 acre estate which he fondly calls Casa de Shenandoah.  

Wayne had recently been contacted by Animal Planet’s documentary show Confessions: Animal Hoarding, to see if he would be willing to adopt the 200 black masked lovebirds that were living freely in a couple’s home.  Recognizing they could no longer care for the birds, the couple agreed to have the birds relocated to Casa de Shenandoah.  A known animal lover with 54 Arabian horses, dozens of peacocks, African penguins, wallabies, sloths and a number of different types of birds, Wayne was happy to open his home to the birds that will be looked after by professional animal caretakers. 

Having the opportunity to be there for the delivery of the birds was a truly special experience that I won’t soon forget.  When I arrived at Casa de Shenadoah that afternoon, they were still building the birds’ new sanctuary.  Wayne’s staff went to great lengths to make sure they would have a spacious environment full of carefully placed perches for them to sit and play on. When the enclosure was finally finished, the staff moved all 200 birds into their new home.  Their vibrant blue and green coloring was a sight to see when they were all together.  After a little coaxing, the lovebirds ate their first meal full of fresh fruits and vegetables, which is more then I can say about my lunch that day.  Those birds eat better then I do!

Seeing the mass of birds in their new sanctuary, it’s hard to imagine them living in someone’s home, but it feels good to know they will be well taken care of for years to come.  Wayne was right; the birds make a beautiful addition to Casa de Shenandoah. I can’t wait for everyone to be able to see them and the rest of Wayne Newton’s animals when Casa de Shenandoah opens to the public at the end of the year!