The Bird Ladies of the Northwoods

by DFS-Pet-Blog on November 4, 2010

Gayle, Shannon and Dawn during a visit to our photo studio.

Gayle, Shannon and Dawn during a visit to our photo studio.

**Guest post from Ellen B.**

Ever wonder where Drs. Foster & Smith gets all their BEAUTIFUL bird models for our catalog and website. A few bird models belong to our employees, but most come from the bird ladies: Gayle, Shannon, and Dawn. They’ve rescued many birds and believe that “just because a bird has a problem in one home doesn’t mean you can’t train it and help it be happy in our home.”

Gayle’s passion for birds started about five years ago when the manager of an elderly group home called to see if Gayle would take two budgies. The budgies had become homeless when their owner had passed away. Being an animal fanatic, Gayle took the budgies that sparked her love for birds. Gayle and her daughter Shannon said they went directly to the Drs. Foster & Smith retail outlet store to buy “two cages and everything else Patti (the store manager) said we needed!” (By the way, we only have one brick and mortar store, and it’s located in Rhinelander, WI.)

Gayle then researched everything she could find about the budgies. However, she highly suggests you do this BEFORE you get a bird. This article is a good place to start learning:
Things to Consider Before Buying a Bird: Time Commitment, Cost, and Housing.

Gayle’s budgie family had grown to five when she saw an ad on a bulletin board in the grocery store for cockatiels. Enter Dawn…and the beginning of a friendship. Gayle had been thinking about stepping up in size from the budgies, so she called Dawn’s number from the ad; Dawn had three cockatiels. Gayle and Shannon said they planned to take two, but decided they couldn’t leave just one bird behind!

This is just a part of the the Bird Room in Gayle's house.

This is just a part of the the Bird Room in Gayle's house.

From there, Gayle’s passion for birds took off. Throughout the years, she has also had five types of Macaws, Amazons, African Grey Parrots, cockatoos, and Ring Necked Parakeets. She now has a “bird room” that is 40’ x 80’. It used to be a swimming pool area, but when the pool sprung a leak, they remodeled it into a bird’s dreamland! It has BIG round aviaries so birds can walk from cage to cage. One cage alone is 8’ x 8’!

Dawn and Gayle have coined Shannon as “the African Grey whisperer” since Shannon has an amazing way with that breed. They just really seem to like Shannon and behave particularly well for her. As I watched these three ladies help our photographer, it was clear that they truly love and enjoy these birds. (Watch this video of Gayle trying to get Nellie to eat an almond for a Drs. Foster & Smith catalog photo shoot!)


Gayle, Shannon, and Dawn now help people find pet birds, teach them what to expect before they get a bird, and even donate time and supplies to people who need special help caring for their bird. Once per year, Gayle has an avian veterinarian come to her house to give each bird a physical exam and trim beaks and nails. She also invites anyone from the surrounding community to bring their bird that day.

Browse the bird supplies division of our website or flip through a bird catalog and you are sure to see Gayle, Shannon, and Dawn’s beautiful birds that they graciously share with us.

Related Posts:
The Bird is the Word
Photo Shoot at Drs. Foster & Smith
Will Work For Treats!

Pet Bird Supplies

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November 4, 2010 at 9:33 am

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

cockatoos May 21, 2011 at 10:53 am

I am fan of Drs. Foster & Smith’s catalog because it has tons of information, as well as products for sale. I had admired the photos of the birds, but never thought about the training required to get them photographed. Thanks

Lisa Moser September 29, 2011 at 1:51 pm

I would so love that bird room. In just over a year my family has taken in 4 rescue birds. I cannot even begin to tell you how these babies have enriched our lives. My husband and are are very seriously talking about a move to the country so that we might be able to accomodate more of these poor angels in need.
Thank you for the learning center. Please continue to post articles about responsible bird ownership and education BEFORE going out and buying a bird. There are rescue organizations all over our country with waiting lists because they are over full.

Tammy November 15, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Great article

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