My first year of working for this magazine was much like enrolling in a graduate course on all things avian. I did have previous pet bird experience: my cockatiel Elvis had been my companion for more than 21 years. (I bought Elvis after saving up my penny collection when I was 9.) But I was nowhere near an avian expert like the the individuals
I was about to meet at avicultural conferences and seminars — so many experts talking on so many expert topics. It was quite overwhelming and a bit intimidating. Fortunately, I learned that bird people were more than happy to help a fledgling editor. One friendly face who stood out from the crowd was Diana Holloway, who, sadly, passed away this January.
Diana was as nice a person as you could ever hope to meet. A few months after starting on BIRD TALK, I adopted an 10-year-old Amazon in urgent need of a home. This involved navigating through some challenging Amazon behavior. Diana was president of the Amazona Society at the time (a post she held for 11 years) and I was thrilled to meet her following a talk she gave at a conference. Diana soon became my Amazon mentor, so to speak. She also wrote many articles on Amazons and other parrots for BIRD TALK. When I’d follow-up on an assignment, she’d always ask if her payment could go directly to one of her many animal and human causes (like Tanygnathus Society, which she helped start). The last time I assigned an article to Diana, she said she was donating the payment to build a dog-run for her local animal shelter.
A few years ago, Diana had to give up all of her birds due to respiratory illness, but this did not stop her from giving her time to the avian community. I recently came across an e-mail Diana sent a couple years ago. She had relocated to Florida and was now “involved in turtle patrol and the Manatee Society.” She happily reported that now her “backyard birding” included feral flocks of quakers, nanday conures, macaws and Amazons. Diana was so giving and appreciative of the world around her. She lived her life true to the sentiment in Louis Armstrong’s song, “What A Wonderful World.”