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Bird rescue headed for new home in Nanticoke

Northeastern Pennsylvania’s “Bird Whisperer” has something to shout about.

Twelve-year-old Evlyn Lyons, a Plymouth girl who is at the heart of a nonprofit bird rescue, will soon be moving the family-run operation across the Susquehanna River to a much larger space in Nanticoke.

The city’s zoning board recently gave its approval for Evlyn’s Exotic Bird Rescue & Adoptions to operate in the former D&R Sports Center building on Fairchild Street.

Nanticoke City Manager Donna Wall said approval was for a variance, since the building is in an R-2 residential zone and the rescue would be a different use than D&R.

The rescue takes in birds whose owners can’t or don’t want to keep them and finds new homes for the creatures. Evlyn already had been fostering birds for several years when she formally gained licensing and nonprofit status in 2022.

Evlyn’s mother, Linda Uren, said that once all code inspections are complete, the rescue can relocate its current collection of 40 birds from their home in Plymouth to the rented Nanticoke property, where they will have 2,700 feet of space in what used to be a sporting goods store.

Wall confirmed that they will need inspections for occupancy, as per code.

“There's just not many rescues around the area. So we're hoping, you know, with a larger building, we can bring in more birds that need help,” Uren said, explaining that they receive calls from all around the region, and there are potentially another 40 to 100 other birds in need of rescuing in the area.

That added space also will allow the rescue to host meet-and-greets between prospective adoptees and the birds.

“This way, the birds will be able to fly around and have more space to be out, to be birds,” Uren said.

There is no date yet for the grand opening, but information will be posted on the rescue’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/EvlynTheBirdWhisperer.

The operation is run by a team of seven volunteers –- all family and friends, Uren said.

Soft-spoken Evlyn, for whom the rescue is named, didn’t say much during our interview, but her mutual affinity for avian life was obvious. Zorya, a four-year-old Meyer's parrot, stayed close to Evlyn the entire time –- as the bird also did during the zoning board hearing a few days earlier, at Nanticoke City Hall.

“Zorya was a surrender that came into our rescue,” Uren said. “She was scared. She was afraid. And she bonded immediately to Evelyn.”

That has been a trend.

“When a bird comes in, we have to put a lot of rehab into them. You know, some of them come naked in a box. They have nothing,” Uren said. “She's able to turn around some of the worst case birds that come in."

Why?

“Because I can just tame birds if they're being like scared, or if they bite,” Evlyn said.

Before they are able to be adopted the birds are assessed by a specialist, Uren explained, and that can be challenging depending on the level of care required.

The rescue works with Trucksville Animal Hospital for basic care, she says, but more complicated cases, such as surgery, can require traveling up to an hour for treatment, sometimes as far as Saylorsburg or Allentown.

With that in mind, Uren said that those who adopt the birds must sign a contract stating that they will provide proper medical care for the creatures.

Saying goodbye to the birds is difficult, but would-be adoptees go through a strict screening process to ensure a good fit.

“She says no more than yes,” Uren said of her daughter.

There is one rescue they do not plan to adopt out: Zorya. Uren said the bird has become an emotional support animal for Evlyn.

“Yeah, that's her baby,” Uren added.

Roger DuPuis joins WVIA News from the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader. His 24 years of experience in journalism, as both a reporter and editor, included several years at The Scranton Times-Tribune. His beat assignments have ranged from breaking news, local government and politics, to business, healthcare, and transportation. He has a lifelong interest in urban transit, particularly light rail, and authored a book about Philadelphia's trolley system.

You can email Roger at rogerdupuis@wvia.org