"For the Birds": My Lifetime With Feathered Friends!

By Will Seagers


Hello, Friends! Matt here. After writing a blog a while back mentioning Jim Bentley and my common love of Moluccan Cockatoos, I am back to do more detailed story telling of my lifelong love of birds.

Once again, my childhood buddy, Michael, who I have mentioned in several of my blogs, shared yet another hobby with me - having cage birds. It was his grandmother, " Nana," who started us both on this journey. In her backyard and in her house she had quite a "community" of birds. In her back yard was a freestanding modestly sized aviary filled with many finch varieties as well as some soft-billed birds. Inside her home were Cockatiels and some very operatic Canaries! I was mesmerized by this collection. On almost a monthly basis, Michael and I would accompany Nana to "The Bird Farm" for supplies and sometimes new family members! That's when the bird bug bit me!

I decided to build an indoor aviary in our basement... much to my father's surprise. I built it under our living room's bay window. So, when I added the flat wall of wire mesh to enclose it, a trapezoid was the resulting shape. Sorry, I have no existing photos of this aviary. It turned out surprisingly well. I was quite successful at breeding finches that I traded to the local pet shops for bird seed and other avian supplies. Every time there was a family gathering, the basement and the aviary were part of the celebrations.


Star Finches
It all started in my teens with finches like this lovely Star Finch!

When I went away to college I had the depressing task of disbanding my aviary and "farming out" my rather large bird collection. While in school and staying with my Aunt (the Finnish one), a very good friend of mine gifted me with a Toucan. I was blown away by this spectacular gift. He was the original Biki Noka - Finnish for big nose! Not every experience in the bird world was a pleasant one. At this time (1969), aviculturists had not perfected a diet for many exotic soft bills like Toucans. You had to improvise a lot. The suggested diet of the time was soaked Monkey Chow with plenty of fresh fruits and veggies. Alas, the tough part about Monkey Chow was that it was very hard on birds' livers. Ultimately,I lost this beauty and I was crushed. It was several years before I had birds again.

"San Francisco, Open Your Golden Gates" - bird cage gates, that is! When I settled in with my first partner Tommy, I felt secure enough to start back up with a new bird family. This time, I was not only interested in finches but in Parrots and Cockatoos! Finches and rare Parakeets came first. I had great luck again in breeding them. My "aviary" in the living room bay window seemed to be the perfect spot for all sorts of finches to live happily and reproduce. I regularly went to pet shops in town where my little folk were eagerly scooped up for sale. My first attempts with parrots were a wild captured cockatoo and an African Gray - both with no success. The wild captures were too afraid of humans to bond.


Flight cage in S.F. apartment
This bay window had more than a view! It was a small apartment with a large flight cage.
Shafttail Finches
Two of the S.F. Flight cages residents, Shafttail Finches.
Parakeets in hutch
Also from S.F., a converted hutch cabinet with breeding Splendid Parakeets.

It was around 1986 or so when I went to a bird show in town (S.F.) and met a local breeder of fine Cockatoos by the name of Gloria. She had a spectacular female Moluccan Cockatoo with her at the show that wasn't quite weened or ready for sale. I left her my name and number for when this youngster became available. In two months the bird was ready. I traveled down the peninsula below San Francisco to a lavish compound/park where Gloria bred her birds. I made the purchase that day and took my "Gloria" home. I had never known a bird to be so affectionate and cuddly. Tommy and I loved to hold and caress her.


Gloria, the Moluccan Cockatoo
One of the grandest birds I ever owned – a Moluccan Cockatoo... Gloria!

In 1989, I lost Tommy to AIDS. Without him at home to lavish her with attention, I had to re-home Gloria. Cockatoos require enormous amounts of attention and will self-mutilate without. I came home to find her cage bloodied from her attack on her own air sacks. I was in tears. I tried to make it work. But, Gloria needed the constant attention I could no longer give while I was away at work. A painful lesson and memory. A similar tale was to be told bout "Bingo," my one and only Macaw. He was adorable and cuddly but would go berserk and shriek when I left for work. It was not fair to my neighbors. A great friend with a bird collection came to our rescue and gave Bingo a great home.


Macaw on Will's shoulder in S.F.
Last of the S.F. pics... Bingo, my Harlequin Macaw!

It was 1991. I was recuperating from my devastations in S.F. at my Aunt's house in N.J. I was shell shocked... I needed a bird! Oddly enough, a wonderful opportunity opened up with a friend of my Aunt. This friend was desperate to find a home for their Yellow Headed Amazon parrot. I moved like lightning to get that bird! It was a life saver for me and the bird! This bird was already a great talker and loved me from the jump. I had this bird for several years until I had to move. My sister rose to the occasion and was delighted to be his new Mama!


Buddy on Will's shoulder
Another time and place... My return to N.J. and my “Buddy,” the Yellow Headed Amazon.

Next step - my new life with my current spouse in NYC. I was bird-less for almost two years. It felt like a hole in my heart. So, I started up with finches, then Love Birds. Then my partner discovered a great bird store downtown - Urban Bird. While touring the store, we came upon Dede. It was love at first sight. Dede is a Red Lory... a talker and one of the cutest birds on the planet. Besides being a striking color, Dede had quite a rambunctious personality. Without hesitating, we made the move. A couple of weeks later, my partner was back at Urban Bird and happened upon a beautiful Citron Cockatoo. So, we went down to see "Louise" and she came back home with us.


Dede on Will's shoulder
Having dinner with my new friend Dede a few years later in NYC.
Birds perched in kitchen
Dede's pal and soulmate, Louise, a Citron Cockatoo.

The Southwest. It is not an easy thing to move across the country with birds... in a car anyway. So, My partner flew with them from NYC to the desert. They had to go to a vet first to have their health certified. That's when we found out that Dede was a boy and Louise was indeed a girl. They adjusted to our new location quickly. The second "Biki Noka," an African Gray, joined the family in 2001. He is my "papa's boy!” Smart as a whip and a loving bird, as well.


Biki Noka
A few years later and Biki Noka joins the family!
Birds at Christmas
At Christmas time, helping unwrap the gifts.
Two birds in dramatic lighting
Mr. DeMille, we're ready! A magic lighting moment with my two “hams!”


Our complete family is currently 19 birds consisting of Dede, Biki, and Louise; in addition there's a pair of Love Birds, a Jenday Conure (Biloxy), five finches, three parakeets and three Cockatiels. They are a handful and a lot of maintenance... but, I love every minute of it. I particularly love Sunday breakfasts when my partner is home and cooking up a storm. At the table he and I act like trees for all of the "kids" to perch upon. I am so happy that our lives have settled down and we have been able to keep these birds for decades! They're our kids! Yes, after all of these years I am truly glad that "the bird bug bit me!" They are incredible creatures!


Will's current bird room and aviary
The Bird Room & the aviary.
Will, present day, with birds on both shoulders
Morning rainbows with Biki and Louise!


Bio of Will Seagers:

Will Seagers (also credited as Matt Harper), within his multifaceted careers and participation in numerous gay communities across the country in the '70s and '80s and beyond, worked as a print model, film performer, and DJ, just to name a few. He made iconic appearances in releases from Falcon, Hand in Hand, Joe Gage, Target (Bullet), J. Brian, Steve Scott, and more, including in lead roles in major classics like Gage's L.A. Tool & Die (1979) and Scott's Wanted (1980). He brought strong screen presence and exceptional acting to his roles and was scene partners with many fellow legends of classic porn.

Will Seagers, present day image


You can read Will Seagers' previous blogs for Bijou here:
Welcome Matt/Will
What's For Dessert?
On and Off the Set of L.A. Tool & Die
Wanted, Weekend Lockup and Weekends in Hermosa Beach
Honeymoon in the Palms
Birds of a Feather
The Stereo Maven of Castro Street
The Pass Around Boy
The Ecstasy and the Agony
Fitness and Fantasy: The Early Gyms
Chasing the Boys and Chasing the Sun: My Story of Sun Worship and Where It Got Me
Becoming Invisible
The Reverse Story of Dorian Gray
Pin Money
One Organ Leads to Another! Part 1
The Wheels of Steel
Feast and Famine: The 1970s to the 1980s
An Alphabet Soup of Powders and Pills
Merry Christmas (and Getting Re-Organized)
Now and Then
DEEP INSIDE THE CASTRO: "Just Another Stroll Down the Castro!"
Diving Into SoMa/Folsom: Hamburger Mary's
Diving Into SoMa/Folsom: Long Live the Stud!
Diving Into SoMa/Folsom: Club Life..."Hit me with your Rhythm Stick!”
A "Split Ticket" - SoMa/Folsom and The Haight!
Back to Basics: "Staying Vanilla in a Flavorful Culture!"
A Little Secret
"I love a Parade!" Recollections of the 1977 S.F. Gay Pride Parade
Pics, Pics & More Pics... Life's a Beach
Flora & Fauna - the Flora part anyway!
Once Is Just Not Enough!
A Love of Cultures – A Knack for Languages!


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