Michelle Annett Roldan
The Fairplex in Pomona hosted the Exotic Bird Mart on Sunday where hundreds of people were able to buy and sell an array of colorful birds.
There were big and small bird species, ranging from parrots to chickens, doves and even toucans. Other vendors there sold birdhouses or other accessories.
Some of the vendors, like Saglley Fieck from Mira Loma, have been attending this specific bird market for years now.
“We’ve actually been breeding birds for over 40 years,” Fieck said. “We’ve been selling at places like this for probably 30 years at least, not sure how many they’ve had here now, but it’s been a long time.”
Vendors and attendees come from all over Southern California, like Cerwinn Castillo’s Exotic and Beautiful Birds, a family business, from Orange County.
“I’m second generation in this bird business,” Castillo said. “My father has been doing it for 25 years, but I basically was raised up in birds. I’m now 22 years old, and I consider birds to be my livestock so it’s like feeding chickens, cows, horses. For people who understand animals, it’s just how it is, with livestock.”
Besides vendors there were people who were instead looking for birds for themselves.
Shopper Arturo Munoz from La Puente also grew up with a father who cared for little animals and birds, which then drew his attention to events like these. Having missed out on the previous year’s bird market, Munoz was able to re-experience the joy.
“It had already been a while since I came,” Munoz said in Spanish. “I love coming to these events because they have a big variety of birds, big and small, of many different kinds. I just bought some Australian parakeets.”
Gloria Chamblee Reyes, who raises exotic birds, attended as a shopper this time and came with her two baby lovebirds to look for another pet. Reyes had people surrounding her in the walkway of the event, as people were intrigued by the hand-raised love birds she carried around.
“I actually only purchased the yellow parallette, but I’m actually a breeder myself, so I raise lovebirds and canaries and so forth,” Reyes said. “Hand-raising birds, that’s my favorite because they’re like little babies, so like every three hours, I gotta get up and hand feed them, and it’s just them knowing who you are.”
Reyes’s passion goes above and beyond as she willingly drives from afar.
“This is the biggest bird show,” Reyes said. “This is the reason why I drive about six and a half hours over here to see these beautiful birds.”
Michelle Annett Roldan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.