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Russow and his wife with their three birds, Willie, Mango, and Oscar.

Featured Article

Russow's Story; How a Bird Saved a Life

Jeremy Russow never thought joining the Marines would lead him to his passion.

“After I joined the Marines in 2007 and completed three tours, I was exhausted. When I returned home from my last deployment, I was walking along the streets of my old town and came across a bird show featuring exotic parrots at this place called Wings of Wonder Rescue.” 

Russow was suddenly enamored by the birds stating, “I fell in love right then and there. I found myself returning to volunteer frequently, and that led me to Willie."

“As soon as I adopted Willie, I noticed a change. What once was anger and frustration started to fade away.” 

However, Russow’s biggest inspiration was yet to come. 

“Soon after Willie, I adopted Rocky. In a way, I feel as if he adopted me first. In fact, he really did not want anything to do with anyone else. After his rescue, the owner of Wings of Wonder told me that he was mine–it was obvious to everyone he chose me. Some service members get dogs or other animals to help them after deployment, but I connected with the parrots. I felt like pieces of me that were pushed down were suddenly coming back up.”

Not only did Rocky aid in helping Russow overcome trials with PTSD, but he also helped him overcome the fear of letting go. 

“I have been playing the piano since I was four and never had the ability to share it with anyone. When I was finally able to share the piano, I credited a lot of it to him. In fact, he led me to win a 2022 NAPPIE award for best keyboard player.” 

However, Rocky was ill. 

“One day when I came back from performing, he was just gone. No bird would ever replace Rocky, but one could help replace the hole I was feeling.” 

Luckily, Pensacola had the answer; Uncle Sandy’s Macaw Bird Park.  

“My wife fell in love with the birds there as well, and it was a no-brainer that we wanted to start volunteering. After the course of two months, we started checking out birds to adopt again and came across a little guy named Oscar, a cockatoo. While he will never replace Rocky, he makes the best addition to our family.


  • Russow and his wife with their three birds, Willie, Mango, and Oscar.
  • Willie holding a feather belonging to Rocky, Russow's beloved sidekick.