Matt Smith- Executive Director of The Central Virginia Parrot Sanctuary

Matt Smith–Executive Director of The Central Virginia Parrot Sanctuary (aka Project Perry), a cutting-edge haven for abused, neglected and unwanted birds living in captivity–discusses his path into avian rescue and running a parrot sanctuary.




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Matt explains how this was prompted by his unfortunate experience with his bird, Perry, that he purchased from a pet store and, developed an ultimately-fatal illness.

He outlines some of the challenges of living with a parrot, including its daily, extended and often-loud vocalizations and that the life expectancy of these birds can be upwards of 80 years–noting that these and other factors frequently lead to people relinquishing the birds, which often wind up in a sanctuary like Project Perry.

He describes some of Project Perry’s inventive attributes, “enclosures,” and programs that have helped make it a nationally-revered facility, and lead to it and Matt Smith’s work be singled out for praise, over multiple pages, by Wayne Pacelle (President & CEO of The Humane Society Of The United States) in his best selling book, “The Bond.”

In addition, Matt Smith addresses illicit breeders and bird mills, placing them in the context of notable legislation changes over the last two decades, and how this has spawned the black market bird business. (

COMEDY CORNER: Eddie Izzard’s “Fox Hunting & Fly Hunting” (that’s what we’re calling this edit of “Horse Whisperer”) (

MUSIC: Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoff’s’ version of “And Your Bird Can Sing,” Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s “Lezonkomo (Praise The Cows & Bulls),” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: Henry Mancini’s “Baby Elephant Walk”

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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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