The 77-year-old homeowner, Margie Davis, was able to evacuate, but she was unable to save her beloved exotic birds. She lost nine birds, a dog, a chinchilla and a rabbit in the fire.
“My birds, my birds,” she said in a weekend interview for WZZM-TV. “I would take birds with me to school. They would interact with children.”
The birds were also her comfort, Davis’ daughter said during the interview.
Davis, who was a teacher for Mona Shores Public Schools for many years, was known as the “Bird Lady” to many in the area. She used to take her colorful birds to events such as the Coast Guard Festival Kids’ Day.
Four area fire departments responded to the blaze on Doris Court shortly after 1 p.m. Friday. Fire was already through the roof when firefighters arrived, so they were unable to enter the house and fought the fire from the exterior. Firefighters were on the scene into the evening.
Grand Haven Public Safety Director Jeff Hawke said the estimated value of the home was between $350,000 and $370,000, and it was a total loss.
The home was insured, but Davis escaped with only the clothes on her back.
Her daughter, Tracey Davis, set up an online account to help raise money for her mother at www.gofundme.com/bird-lady-margie-grand-haven-fire.
“My mother, Margie Davis, recently lost her home and everything in it, including her various exotic birds,” Tracey wrote on the fundraising page. “Some of you have met Margie, aka ‘the Bird Lady,’ at various community events such as Kids' Day during the Coast Guard Festival, library events, or scouting learning activities. She was also a teacher for 30-plus years where she used her birds as therapy for students. Needless to say, she is devastated by this loss. Her birds were her world.”