Creekside Birds, Jack Long’s exotic-bird-breeding operation along the levee road in Point Reyes Station, has fascinated me for more than 40 years. Although at 96 Jack has greatly reduced the number of birds he keeps, they’re still all around his home, and on Friday he gave Lynn and me a tour.

Jack Long, a retired plumber, keeps a couple of parrots company in his living room, and they, in turn, engage him in two-word conversations along the lines of: “Hello, Jack.”

A pair of cockatiels inhabit a roomy cage just outside Jack’s kitchen door.

Jack’s operation sits on a narrow strip of land between the levee road and Papermill Creek. When the record storms of 1982 struck, his home and his cages were sitting in water.

Parrots nuzzling each other in their cage.

A Dene goose, the state bird of Hawaii, lets loose with a chorus of squawks while two goslings circle their cage.

A family of swans paddle around a pond in their cage. Ten years ago Jack was in the news (click here to read) for nursing back to health an injured swan from the San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts lagoon.

As Lynn, Jack, and I strolled round his facility, we got to talking about a news story I covered for The Point Reyes Light back when his late wife Betty Jean ran a hair salon on the bottom floor of their home. One night a skunk wandered into the salon and managed to get trapped in a garbage can. The next morning while a couple of women were in mid-shampoos, a maid unwittingly dumped a wastebasket in the garbage can, and the skunk cut loose. With coughing women scrambling out to the street, a deputy sheriff soon showed up and shot the skunk. Despite being a quiet little place, there’s often a bit of excitement brewing at Jack’s spot by the creek.