Changing the nature of her business from a care center to a rescue for unwanted and mistreated birds shortly followed as owners began abandoning their birds in large numbers because of financial, health, and other reasons. The rescue grew quickly, with Paula becoming involved in the rescue of birds from across NJ as well as nearby States. During the first year, a Moluccan cockatoo named Aldo was relinquished. He was in poor health and deteriorating rapidly, with no hope for recovery, even after several emergency visits to an animal hospital. He eventually passed, dying with his head curved under his open wing. Devastated at his loss, Paula decided to expand the rescue’s role to become a life-time sanctuary for birds like Aldo, and in his memory, she established the North Jersey Sanctuary for exotic birds and named it Under My Wing Avian Refuge. 

Under My Wing Avian Refuge
1243 Rte 23 North
Wantage NJ 07461 US
Tel. +1 973-702-7770
Paula's Cell +1 862-268-3059 (Emergencies Only) 

Paula registered Under My Wing Avian Refuge as a New Jersey nonprofit corporation in 2007 and received its determination letter of acceptance from the Internal Revenue Service in 2009. The cause Area is Bird Sanctuary/Preserve, Animal Protection and Welfare, and Animal Training

Paula’s skill with birds, learned by hands-on experience and working closely with her Avian Veterinarian (Dr.  Wolf, Companion Animal Hospital), grew, as did the numbers and types of birds at the refuge, which at times included as many as 200  birds; canaries, ‘Keets, cockatiels, amazons, cockatoos,  macaws, and other species.

Paula was born in Italy and came to the United States with her family at age 11. Married to Thomas Scott Ashfield (Scott) in 1999, she and her husband now live in Wantage, NJ, where they run Under My Wing Avian Refuge, a sanctuary for exotic birds.

Prior to her undertakings with the birds, Paula served for 7 years as VP of Operations for a medium-sized electrical company in Fairfield, NJ. In 2000, she left the company to start her own business as a freelance for office restructuring and manual accounting using Quick Books.

During this period, Paula began boarding some birds for friends and neighbors in her local community, in Franklin NJ. In so doing, she soon discovered that she enjoyed the birds’ company immensely and had a natural talent for handling these little creatures. With this realization, and a growing preference for working at home, Paula closed her business in 2006 and opened a bird care center she called The Cherished Nest. 

Under My Wing Avian Refuge, exist to provide captive birds with individualized care, the companionship of a flock, and the opportunity to live out their lives in a safe haven dedicated to their well-being and educating the public of the complex needs of parrots in captivity and the crisis facing them.
Under My Wing Avian Refuge AKA Under My Wing and UMWAR
EIN 26-1470517
Cause Area (NTEE Code) 
Bird Sanctuary/Preserve (D32)
Animal Protection and Welfare (includes Humane Societies and SPCAs) (D20)
Animal Training, Behavior (D61) 



Our Devotion and Commitment are Continually Changing Parrots Lives


Paula Ashfield (Founder and President, Under My Wing Avian Refuge) and Thomas Scott Ashfield (VP and Treasurer, Under My Wing Avian Refuge) 

Under My Wing Avian Refuge exists to provide captive birds with individualized care, the companionship of a flock, and the opportunity to live out their lives in a safe free flight and open cage haven dedicated to their well-being. Through education and public awareness, we seek to alleviate all animals suffering and help eliminate use of exotic birds as pets, their exploitation in show business and alleviate over-burdened parrot rescues by not emphasizing on the over rated adoption slogans for captive-bred birds due to the grown epidemic of bird abuse and hoarding scenarios all across our Country and beyond.

​​Embracing with love the many wings

whose lives we transform.

Providing Home, Flock, Rest, Refuge & Individualized Care


In 2010, Paula and Scott purchased a home on a 10-acre site in Wantage, NJ for themselves and the birds to establish a permanent facility for the refuge, and in 2019, built the 40’x80’ foot temperate controlled building that now houses the birds. Here, Paula has become a welcome and valued member of the community, variously assisting the NJSPCA, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, St. Hubert’s,and and other Associated Humane Societies.

​Paula’s passion and devotion to the birds lead her to also establish educational programs for parrot owners, open a youth program, parents and kids days along with other ongoing programs which benefit the birds, uphold operations of the refuge and serves the community at large. 

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