Pandemonium Aviaries – Los Altos Hills, California - Atlas Obscura
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Los Altos Hills, California

Pandemonium Aviaries

Hidden among the multi-million dollar mansions in the Santa Cruz hills is a sanctuary for troubled birds. 

Started by one woman with a heart big enough to embrace even the most unruly, damaged, and generally unwanted birds, the Pandemonium Aviaries comprise a collection of hundreds of exotic fliers in a dozens of lovingly homemade backyard enclosures.

This California sanctuary all began when creator Michele Raffin found a wounded dove back in 1996. Taking the bird in and nursing it back to health, Raffin found what would become her true calling. Soon she was being approached by local breeders and other caretakers of rare birds who were more than happy to take advantage of Raffin’s tender affection for birds and pass on their birds who were injured or simply have mean, aggressive personalities. As her flock of rare damaged goods grew, she began constructing mini-habitats in the backyard of her large Santa Cruz home where the birds could be free to heal, undisturbed by humans. 

Raffin’s facilities and collection of birds has continued to grow over the almost 20 years since she first rescued a single dove. Today there are now 54 separate enclosures housing over 300 birds spread across 42 different species. Over the years the focus of the aviaries have shifted from rescue to conservation and Raffin now employs a team of volunteer doctors and bird specialists to make sure that her precious charges receive the attention and care they can’t find in the wild. 

For the health of the birds Pandemonium Aviaries is not open to the public, but profiles of many of the specific birds can be found on their website, or anyone can likely hear the call of the refuge’s real life angry birds from outside.