Michael J. Panarelli, 71, of Dighton, MA has been a longtime fan of raptors and other birds. So much so, in fact, that in his retirement he has built specialty roosting and nesting bird houses for local birds. Mike has worked closely with local Audubon organizations to make sure that his bird houses aren’t simply beautiful: every measurement, material, and addition to the houses is created with the bird in mind.
Mike learned of the Lloyd Center’s resident rehabilitated screech owl, Koko, through his good friend and author of “Owlet Rescue…” Cheryl Aguiar. Upon learning of our pint-sized animal ambassador, he decided to create and donate one of his bird houses to Koko. The house he built is a beauty! It is made using all non-toxic materials, built using native white pine, and the roof is shingled with real cedar. The exterior is sealed and there are venting slots in the upper portion to prevent heat buildup and drain holes in the floor. Most appreciated by Koko’s caretakers are the pivoting side panels that open for easy and thorough cleaning. Finally, Mike inscribed Koko’s name on the front of her house!
On Friday, September 8th, Mike brought his gift to Koko. Alongside Lloyd Center Educator Erika Fernandes, he was able to meet Koko up-close and personal. Koko was calm and happy; she was in a particularly amazing mood during the meeting—it’s as if she knew! The happy feeling was mutual. About the meeting, Mike claims, “Truly, what a thrill. Words can’t express how exciting and enjoyable this is for me. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience”. Lloyd Center Educator / Outreach Specialist, Ashley Gesner, also presented our stunning red-shouldered hawk, “Hawk”, to Mike. Witnessing Hawk’s powerful presence, Mike shook his head. “You don’t get many days like this one”.
The Lloyd Center, Koko, and her caretakers, are incredibly thankful for Mike’s kindness and generosity. His well-made and thoughtful gift is built to last and will benefit Koko for years to come. We—and our little owl— look forward to seeing Mike again this upcoming Saturday for our Koko and Friends: Animal Encounters Event. Join us on Saturday, September 23rd, to see Koko and her amazing new roosting house!