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Bird Mania Reopens After Car Crashed Into Store

Bird Mania on W. Emmaus Avenue in Salisbury Township reopens after rebuilding from the damage done by a car crashing into the store.

Sarah Ayers is happy to have a macaw named Oliver out of her house and back at his perch at the reconstructed Bird Mania on W. Emmaus Avenue in Salisbury Township -- and not just because he can swear like a sailor.

The cacophony of squawking and chirping at Bird Mania is a sign that the parakeets, macaws and other birds are glad to be home after about a month away in the wake of an SUV crashing into the shop on Nov. 13.

"Happy birds make a  lot of noise," explained Ayers, a store volunteer and noted Lehigh Valley blues singer.

Bird Mania opened for its normal business hours this week for the first time since the SUV went through the front wall, just missing about 50 birds and Debbie Lentz, who co-owns the shop with her fiance, Tom Mantz. 

"I had just walked in the back to make more formula for the baby birds when I heard the crash," Lentz said. When she looked into the main room of the shop, there was the SUV, still in gear. 

Initial reports said it was possible that the driver, who was not named, had a seizure. He was taken to the hospital by ambulance.  

What: Bird Mania reopened

Where: 3235 W. Emmaus Ave., Salisbury Township

When: Noon-7 p.m. Monday-Friday; 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sundays.

During the reconstruction, the birds stayed at the homes of Lentz, Ayers and former Bird Mania owner Linda Ehret. Lentz would open the foyer of the shop for a few hours in the evenings to take care of customers who needed supplies or help with their birds. 

Lentz said the contractors, A.G. Stellar Construction of Schnecksville, worked quickly to repair the structure, which included rebuilding a wall, painting walls and resurfacing the floor. Then the township building inspectors certified the building for occupancy.

"Everything we have in the store is new because we didn't want to have to worry about any glass from the crash getting in it," Lentz said. 

The reopening couldn't come too soon for Charlotte Dougherty of Macungie. She stopped in Tuesday afternoon for special bird food she buys for her parrotlet named Blueberry. 

"He won't eat anything but [Bird Mania] seed," Dougherty said. "I'm so happy nobody got hurt. They're wonderful here." 

In addition to selling bird food, cages, toys and other supplies, Bird Mania grooms birds and boards them for their owners.

"Your average next-door neighbor is not going to come over to take care of your macaw," said Ayers, who pointed out that such birds sometimes bite.

Oliver, the 13-year-old scarlet macaw that Ayers took care of at home for a month, had been a fixture in the shop for years. Ehret had taken him in when his owner couldn't take care of him. Oliver arrived with a tendency to nip and a salty vocabulary. 

"He drops F-bombs," Ayers said. "He'll say, 'What's this s--t.' "

The polar opposite of Oliver is a talking cockatiel named Eskimo that happily perched on customer Amanda Stern's hand Tuesday. Eskimo will say "pretty bird" and "good boy" and if you kiss at him, he'll make kissing sounds back.

Oliver, on the other hand, has more in mind than kissing.

"He thinks I'm his mate," Ayers said. "I won't even tell you some of the things he does to my arm."  

mark wood December 21, 2012 at 06:51 PM
I was concerned for the birds, its nice to see nice folks do nice things, hope all is well.

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