Karleen Koehler was a bird-lover without equal. She founded Jeepers Cheepers, a sanctuary for birds rescued from neglect and cruelty.
Photographer Carole May introduced me to Jeepers Cheepers after I adopted the Byrds. It was an amazing place with about 200 birds of every feather from humble parakeet to zebra finches, cockatiels, and majestic parrots. To help fund the sanctuary, Mrs. Koehler sold bird supplies and food. Her millet was phenomenal. Ms. May eulogized her dear friend Mrs. Koehler:
Her legacy is all the birds she took in, rehabilitated and found good homes for. And those who couldn’t be rehabilitated were cared for lovingly so they could live out their time on earth the best they could. I know when she got to Rainbow Bridge, there were many there to greet her and she crossed over with a very colorful flock around her.
Friends and relatives celebrated Mrs. Koehler’s life at a memorial potluck dinner which was exceptionally well-attended. Fortunately, most of the birds at Jeepers Cheepers have been adopted. Ms. May adopted a pair of gorgeous lovebirds she has named Adagio and Dolce.
They are joining Dundee, who spent many vacations with Ms. Koehler and loved her very much.
Angel 2, who is one of my Byrds, is also mourning Mrs. Koehler. She took loving care of him when he had issues with his beak. He and Mozart love, love, loved the millet from Jeepers Cheepers.
Mrs. Koehler passed away on April 20, 2010. Our hearts and prayers are with Mrs. Koehler’s adoring husband Larry and her family and friends ~ those with feathers and those without. Mrs. Koehler will be deeply missed by everyone.
I am so sad to hear of her passing. We visited her and Larry last July. My daughters loved her and the birds. Larry was in the army with my father-in-law. Can you tell me what happened?
I believe she had cancer. Please accept my condolences. I’m sure Larry would love to hear from you. Thank you for your comment.
Michael, my father-in-law, called and talked to Larry last night. Larry was hoping I had taken a picture of her while we were there. Larry said he has no pictures of her at all. Unfortunately I didn’t. The last time I saw them, my baby was sick and I just didn’t think to take pictures. Anyway, I copied her picture from the website to print and send to him, but if you have any others, could you email them to me for him please?
Sadly, Mindi, I lifted the photo from the Bellingham newspaper. They did a piece on her several months ago.
I’m stunned there are no photos of her. I know she had hundreds ~ if not thousands ~ of photos of the birds she cared for and loved ~ says a lot about Karleen, eh? I will ask Carole May, who was devoted to Karleen, if she has any photos. Carole is a photographer, but my sense is that she too took photos of the birds for Karleen rather than of Karleen.
I have removed your e-mail address ~ it shows up on my screen. I have taken the liberty, however, of sending an e-mail message to Carole and included your e-mail address and name with the hopes that she may be able to ferret out a photo.
The photo the Bellingham Herald took captures Karleen’s spirit. I’m sure Larry will cherish it, and I want to thank you for your compassion, grace, and generosity.
Sending hugs and thanks,
My husband and I often think of Karleen. We share a love of birds and gained much of the knowledge we have from her. We lost one of our birds today, which we rescued in Karleen’s memory. Daisy, a Jenday conure was dying from a liver disorder and had no family and no one to care for her. ” what would Karleen do?” And we knew she would never turn a bird away. We live our lives knowing that the world was a better place with Karleen in it. My husband and I are looking into ways to help unwanted and special needs birds- We are open to any connections you may have. Our goal is be a part of something bigger and feel that Karleen’s spirit should live in everyone.
Please accept my hugs for the loss of your beloved bird. Your comment has touched me deeply, and I thank you for leaving it. Karleen’s life was indeed inspiring.
At the time of her passing, one of her employees was involved in placing the birds. I know that they were connected to a larger bird rescue group, but I cannot recall who, what, or where. At one time, the animal shelter in Everett was accepting abandoned birds, but my guess is that most were/are not exotic. Your veterinarian or an aviary specialist may be able to refer you to a rescue sanctuary.
My own flock of Byrds (parakeets) has expanded from two to four. I am blessed to have a fascinating array of birds who visit my feeders because my home is surrounded by reforested old growth trees. I’d be a happy camper, however, if I could find a way to discourage the crows.
This is how Karleen’s spirit lives on in my life.
Sending hugs and best wishes,