10,000 exotic birds killed as Taiwanese-American family loses livelihood to California wildfires

The Yang family aviary was completely destroyed in fires that swept through Bonsall County on Dec. 7

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Remains of the Yang Family aviary, in California (Image from the Family's Gofundme page)

Remains of the Yang Family aviary, in California (Image from the Family's Gofundme page)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Over 10,000 exotic birds have been killed because of the California wildfires in Bonsall, California.

The aviary housing the animals was swept up in the flames that burned over 4,100 acres of Bonsall County, California in the community of West Lilac. The area is a rural community comprising mostly ranches and agricultural land.

After raging for the past week, authorities in California say the “Lilac Fire” has been completely contained. However, the damage to life and property in Bonsall is still significant and tragic.

The birds belonged to a family-owned aviary founded by Taiwanese-Americans, surnamed Yang. The owner’s daughter, Jenni Southwell speaking to local media said she has been in a state of shock the entire week.

When the fires first swept through carried by severe winds, shocked horses began fleeing and alarmed the community. Southwell's brother who was working at the time, did not have time to open all of the cages in the aviary.

As a result, Southwell says that although some of the birds may have escaped, most certainly died.

The aviary was started in West Lilac in 1981 by a Taiwanese couple that immigrated to California. Over the years it grew from a small operation to one of the largest commercial finch breeding operations in the country, according to Southwell.

The family raised a variety of birds including exotic finches, canaries, lady gouldians, as well as cockatiels and parakeets, for over 36 years, before the fires arrived on Dec.7 and burned everything to ash.

Both of the owners were in Taiwan when the fires occurred. The mother, who is in remission from cancer, was in Taiwan for post-remission treatment.

On the family's gofundme page was the following statement:

"(The Yang Family) dedicated their lives to caring for birds whether it was hand feeding baby birds, nursing the sick or tending to the injured. This loss of our beloved birds has been the most devastating part of this tragedy."

Currently, the family is hoping to rebuild something from the ashes of the family business, and is seeking any help that the public can offer. Donations can be sent to their gofundme page.


Zebra Finches (Image: Pixabay)