I visited the Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary not quite knowing what to expect. I knew they had a lot of parrots in their care and had seen Patricia Norton on the WFLA Daytime show and that tickled my heart.
On the day I visited, I got to see the birds being fed, saw the new flight cages and watched a contractor placing a really cool "arbor shade" system on one of the cages. I could have stayed all day. What really amazed me was how well operations are run at this sanctuary.
I can only imagine what a responsibility it is to shelter, feed, care for (and keep amused) 700 or more parrots... but the staff made it look easy and most of all, enjoyable.
My umbrella cockatoo "Malley" now calls FEBS his home. It was the hardest thing I've ever done to give him up, but the only way I was able to do it is because I knew that FEBS would be able to give him a life more in line with his nature than what I could ever give him. They are always making improvements with the birds' best interest in mind. The volunteers are great and know all the birds by name and what they do and don't like.
The fact that a place like FEBS has to exist is unfortunate, but they are doing an outstanding job of giving these birds a place they can "just be birds" for the rest of their lives.
I have a male umbrella cockatoo, Malley, that came into my family when I was 7 years old. He was just a baby. I'm now 29 and he is about 22. At some point, Malley became "my" bird. His well-being was the first thing I thought of no matter what was happening in my life. I gave up a lot for him, but I'd have done it happily the rest of my life or his if I'd thought staying with me was the best thing for him.
I stressed all the time about whether or not I was doing the right thing by keeping him with me. My husband and I both work, and I hated him being alone all day while we were gone. To make things more difficult, he wasn't exactly a fan of my husband, so it was hard to divide what little time I had after work. No matter how much time I could give, I never felt like it was enough. It would break my heart to catch him sitting quietly, staring out the windows as if he were longing to be there. He loved being outside and I took him out as often as our weather allowed.
I started considering the possibility of a sanctuary about 3 years ago. I contacted Pat via email to ask about it and got some information. I saved that email just in case, but guilt sank in and I felt so horrible considering it that I let it be. A couple years later, more life changes, in addition to more questioning myself if keeping him was right, spurred me to email back again. At this point I had discovered that FEBS had purchased a new property to expand, and that they could take my boy.
It took a lot of soul-searching and trying to look past the emotion. Once I made that final call and realized this was really happening, it hit me pretty hard. But, I knew that in the long run that this is what would be best for Malley.
We made the drive from Virginia to Florida just this past weekend. The hardest part was thinking about all the things I will miss. He was such a huge part of my everyday life, and so much of my routine was dedicated to him. Not having him here is crushing, but I'm at peace knowing he will be so much happier around other birds, getting to fly, and hopefully making friends.
I was so amazed how well he settled. I didn't know what to expect since he had never really been around other parrots before, and I wasn't sure how he would react. After we set up his cage like it was at home, he went in and seemed so much more quiet and relaxed than I assumed he would be. Obviously, it was pretty noisy with all the other birds around, but he didn't seem fazed. It actually made me smile to hear him whistling and talking to the other birds. :)
We spent some time there, me boo-hooing the whole time at the thought of not getting to see him every day. He "cried" with me and I told him a million times I love him and I hope he understands why I'm doing this. We spent the night at a hotel and stopped to see him one last time before heading home. He seemed so relaxed, had clearly eaten food, drank water, and played with his toys. I brought him a banana from the hotel (his favorite) and he ate quite a bit of that like normal. I gave him a few more small toys to play with, and he sat and happily chewed them apart. I gave him some cuddling and scratches before i said goodbye. I was still sad to leave him, but it made me feel so much better seeing him so ok with everything.
This is the hardest thing I've ever done, but I know I needed to do it. He is my life, and I hated feeling like I wasn't able to give him everything he deserved. They are busy building the new aviaries at the new location in Hudson, but I hope to see him soon in his new aviary. It will be hard adjusting to not having him here with me everyday. The house seems too quiet now, but I know I did the right thing by bringing him to FEBS. I plan to visit as often as I can, and hopefully volunteer during my trips there.
They do great things for parrots, plus give them fantastic love and care. Have volunteered helping there with numerous other people. They have accomplished amazing results with the recourses they have to work with. Have been donating to them for several years and have had parrots myself for over 20 years. Had parakeets ( budgies ) for 15 plus years before getting parrots.
We discovered FEBS several years ago when we started looking for our parrots future home. Since they will outlive us their future is a great concern to us. We donate several times annually for projects, food, toys. We also visit when we go to Florida. We also smile Amazon website when making online purchases which gives a portion to your designated non profit.
We want to ensure this organization is thriving when we need them. To ensure that, FEBS needs support continuously.
FEBS is also a great advocate for our feathered friends. They continue to communicate and educate! To quote FEBS "Finally, we are committed to raising public awareness regarding the moral responsibilities and physical demands of keeping parrots or other wild animals as pets."
Great non profit thank you FEBS!
I have my beloved macaw, Millie, at the Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary because I knew she needed to be with her own kind. Before choosing a permanent home for her I did research on area sanctuaries and found FEBS to be by far the best around. Founder Pat Norton has such a love for these birds her life long goal is to give them the best life possible and let them be a bird. Although the Sanctuary moved from another location a couple of years ago, it has continued to prosper and excel in what it has to offer the birds. They are in flights that allow them ample room to fly and interact with other birds of their breed. Because Pat has business savvy she excels in fund raising and planning for expansion. Many volunteers gladly give their time for feeding, cleaning, building flights, caring for the grounds, and many other things that a facility of this kind requires. FEBS is deserving of the recognition for the best nonprofit facility.
My two blue and gold macaws called the sanctuary "home"'for six months while we bought a home. I went to visit often and they were well fed, safe, and well taking care of. I was so impressed that I started volunteering every week! They clean the cages every day. Fresch water and food everyday. They rely on volunteers to make toys and change toys, feed, clean or just pet and live the birds! They really need need volunteers! It is such a wonderful place. Getting better everyday with the love of the workers and volunteers help. Donations are needed to build more flight aviaries so more birdies can fly freely. Go check it out. It is a wonderful place!
The Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary is truly “Sanctuary Life Reimagined” as they describe on their website. http://flabirdsanctuary.org/content/sanctuary-life-reimagined
As the largest parrot sanctuary in Florida, they are truly dedicated to the care and well-being of their birds and do not breed, sell, or adopt them out. This level of care and responsibility is evident from countless owners that have placed over 700 parrots in the care of the sanctuary.
Nestled on 5 acres in Hudson Florida, each visit I make leaves me in awe. The sanctuary is truly a collection of families—from the dedicated staff and volunteers… to the 700+ parrots living in state of the art facilities.
Tours are available… and not to be missed if you want to meet multiple types of parrots—like Amazons, Cockatoos, Conures, Eclectus and Macaws—and perhaps more importantly, hear first hand what the staff has learned from the parrots in their care and the overall plight faced by parrots produced by the pet trade.
I will continue to support this very special sanctuary in any way possible and am already looking forward to my next visit.
If I were an exotic bird… I’d want to be here.
I’d want to be here because of Patricia Norton and her team that work tirelessly to live up to the word “sanctuary” in the organizations name.
The Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary (FEBS) has created a safe and healthy environment for these birds like no other I have seen… a place where they are cared for, can socialize, can play and most of all, can just be who they were meant to be.
It’s heart-warming to speak to Pat and see her eyes light up when she speaks of the birds (and she knows them all by name). You understand her calling and the complex interrelationships of humans and birds as she explains how they love, mourn, cope, have a sense of humor and even invent.
I also learned that surrendering your exotic bird is a truly gut-wrenching experience from Kathleen and her husband John, a board member of FEBS. There is so much at stake and it speaks volumes when they tell you about the exhaustive research they did before selecting FEBS and then doubling down by investing their time and expertise into the organization.
The commitment and dedication of Pat, her team and the many volunteers at Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary is undeniable. Collectively they provide a well-trained and knowledgeable network prepared to address not only the needs of their birds but the day to day management of the organization as well.
Not all bird sanctuaries are created equal and Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary certainly serves as a role model for this category.
I was looking for a place to take my macaw should I become unable to care for her. I had no intention of doing it right away. After reading the testimonials on the website, I was impressed enough to take the 2 hour trip to visit.
Macaws are very intelligent creatures and really should not be in captivity. When I saw the new Hudson location and especially the HUGE macaw flight I knew this is where I wanted to bring my macaw. She had begun some feather plucking and I had not felt that she was truly happy for some time. Seeing the other macaws in the flight interacting, preening, and just enjoying "hanging out" made me realize I had to make arrangements for her to come and "just be a bird". It was a very difficult decision but I had to set her free to live a life as much like her relatives in South America as I could.
She has let her feathers grow back and every time I visit there I see how she is beginning to interact and enjoy the HUGE spacious flight. She recognizes me and comes down to chat and cuddle but we both know she is in the right place. If you love something you set it free to enjoy the best life it can have.
I found FEBS because I was planning a trust for my birds and wanted to feel comfortable in knowing they would be going to a good place should anything happen to me. After reviewing the FEBS website I was so impressed I made a visit to see if it was one of those places that was "just too good to be true".
Well, it IS good and it IS true! I can't tell you how impressed I was at seeing the sanctuary with my own eyes. So impressed that I drive 2 hours one way to volunteer to do what I do at home...clean cages and feed and water birds! But what a wonderful feeling it is to know that I'm doing just this small thing to help these glorious creatures!
Pat, the founder, is a wonderful person with a big heart and an even bigger vision. She runs a tight ship to make sure that the birds are #1 priority in regard to cleanliness, meeting their needs, and letting them live as they should...as flock birds! What a joy it was to see them pairing up to preen, snuggle, and nap.
She also has an acclimation period for newcomers so they get used to new surroundings, sounds, and "meeting" other birds of their own breed before they enter the aviary. It's important to Pat that they experience as little stress as possible during the transition. Now THAT'S a person that knows what she's doing!
If you're thinking about donating to something worthwhile, this is the place. It's as easy as sponsoring one of the birds or you can get the "wish list" and ear mark for one of the many needs of the sanctuary.
It was wonderful to have a place for my parrot, Sweet Pea, to live due to our change in living arrangements. He has found a forever bird girlfriend and seems very happy. Please donate to continue the wonderful care that all of these birds receive due to the wonderful staff! Thank you for all you do!
My beloved yellow nape has been at FEBS now almost 3 years now. Hard to believe. it's been the most amazing experience and I thank God every day that she is there safe and loved. Patricia and her amazing staff work tirelessly for the well being of all of their birds. I'm so grateful for the Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary that words can't describe it. I also go down and volunteer a few times a year and have a blast!
Patricia Norton (and her staff at Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary) is just an extraordinary individual that has given her life to the rescue of exotic birds. She tirelessly works to care for over 300 birds on a daily basis in addition to her ongoing fundraising efforts to support the needs of the birds and sanctuary grounds. We took our beloved yellow Nape "Alex" to her 18 months ago and I Thank God everyday for Patricia and FEBS. There is no finer exotic bird rescue in the United States and I wholeheartedly will continue to support Patricia and FEBS for life.
I’ve had my Blue and Gold Macaw, ‘Perikeen’, for eighteen years – nearly his entire life has been spent with me and my husband. He doesn’t care for strangers, he doesn’t like change in his routines and we enjoy his company (most of the time) and love him (all of the time). Certainly no one could accuse us of abusing him – he had three cages: one in the house where he spent his nights eating dinner and snacks with us, watching TV, doing dishes (he loved helping with the dishes!) and playing games; another was outside in a covered porch where he could see us as we came and went all day – since we work from home, he always had someone talking to him, interacting with him all day long; the last one was a large cage hanging from a tree where he could see all around him, see the sky and the ground, see the other birds and wildlife in the area, as well as see us anytime we were outside.
He pretty much had the “Life of Riley” – he’d get treats throughout the day, had interaction with us almost constantly and had more toys to play with than most children, but still we worried that he wasn’t happy. He would have screaming fits daily – just scream and scream and scream and nothing would satisfy him during those times. He would also bite us without provocation – just ‘cause he felt like it or was in a bad mood, perhaps out of frustration or boredom. I guess if I lived in a cage, or even three cages, I’d probably feel like biting someone, too.
My husband and I had discussed placing him into a sanctuary in the past – wondering if he would be happier there with the other birds, out in a large flight cage where even he, the klutziest bird known to man, might be able to fly (and land) like a real bird. But, other than do a little research online, I never pursued it – until this year. As happens with most changes in life, this one was brought on by changes in our circumstances, so, the decision was made – Perikeen would be getting a new home.
So, back to the computer I went looking up parrot sanctuaries and one that caught my attention was the Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary. One reason I focused on this organization was that it was close to where I lived, so the idea of visiting Perikeen while he was there was feasible, but the most important reason they drew my attention was the obvious love and caring they exude for the birds in their care which is evident in the pictures, videos and the words of their Mission Statement.
“Anxious” and “emotional” didn’t begin to describe my feelings when I arrived at FEBS one afternoon. When I opened my door and stepped out of the car, I was greeted with the screeching, calling and talking of what sounded like hundreds of birds of all descriptions – it was truly amazing that this parrot ‘oasis’ exists here amongst other homes in rural Pasco County. And my neighbors complain to me about Perikeen’s screaming! Ha!
It was early spring and the temperatures were still cool – Pat had a lot of parrots in cages in the big double garage of her house. As I walked through the aisles of birds in the garage I noticed a few things:
• First, clean – all the cages were kept clean, there weren’t bird droppings or bad smells coming from the garage, despite the number of birds in there at the time.
• Second, food and water – every bird had ample food and clean water in their cage – it was obvious that they weren’t skimpy with the rations and kept the water cleaned daily.
• Third, happy – all the birds seemed perfectly happy – they talked, each with their own favorite word or phrase as you walked through, some wanted to be touched and petted – they weren’t afraid, they weren’t frightened of people.
After meeting Pat, she explained that the garage was where all the birds start out so she and her fellow bird lovers can get a feel for the bird, for their personality and to make sure they have adjusted well, are eating right and that the change has not gotten them sick. She showed me how they were kept warm in the winter and cool in the summer and how she was aware of which birds got along and which ones didn’t and arranged them accordingly. She told me the birds were left for a while in their own, familiar cages, with their own, familiar toys and food to make the transition easier.
Finally, the day came to bring Perikeen to the sanctuary. I’d had two weeks to dwell on it, worry about it, cry over it and finally come to grips with it – Perikeen hadn’t. So, into the carrier he went – not willingly mind you, but eventually he went in. His cage, toys and food went in the back of the truck and down the road we went. The trip was again filled with tears and me telling him how sorry I was that I had to do this and how much I loved him and I promised to visit him at his new home. We sang his favorite songs and I said all his favorite words and phrases as we drove to his new home. I prayed that I was doing the right thing – I hoped he would forgive me.
At the sanctuary, I expected Perikeen to be trembling and nervous – he hates change and hasn’t even SEEN another parrot in the last 18 years, but, to my shock and amazement, he seemed curious and happy. We got his cage set up and he settled in it, talking animatedly to me, Pat and Magic – her amazing helper.
When I finally got in my car to leave, I yelled “Bye!” to him out the window and he told me “Bye! B-Bye!” over and over as I drove out the gate. I cried all the way home, but at the same time I was really hopeful that he’d be happy there. His initial reaction wasn’t what I had expected – he wasn’t scared, he wasn’t trembling – he seemed joyful and curious. The time that Magic and Pat spent with him, with us, gave me confidence that, if anything did happen – if he wasn’t adjusting, they would know it and tell me and I could come and get him and bring him back home.
For the next few days I got emails from Pat telling me that he was doing well – he was eating, he was talking . . . he was doing fine. Over time, she moved him from his cage in the garage to one of the smaller cages in the flight pen, then one day she emailed to say that she’d let him out into the large flight. I was amazed – it had only been a little over a month. She said he was well suited to it because he wasn’t timid – timid birds took longer, but Perikeen was perfect – he was doing really well.
Finally, after a period of time that I thought would be enough for him to be well adjusted, I went to visit. Pat walked with me to the flight pen and we entered together. There were several B&G’s in there and I wondered how in the world I’d be able to tell which one he was – they all looked pretty much the same. We eliminated a few that Pat knew for sure weren’t him and that left only a couple of possibilities. I walked towards the first one and called his name, but that one scurried up the wire of the tall cage and away from me. “I hope that wasn’t him!” I thought before turning to the other one who was perched at the highest point of the cage on the opposite wall. As I turned around and called his name again, that one started bobbing his head up and down and I knew – that was my baby! Then he asked, “How are ya’ doin’?!”
The entire time I was there with him, Perikeen never once offered to bite me, never once screamed, didn’t mind the other macaws there with us, wasn’t scared, wasn’t intimidated – he was happy. It was like he was welcoming me to his new home – showing me around, introducing me to his new friends. He had lost some weight, he had gained muscle – he looked good, healthy and strong and he acted like this was where he belonged. At that moment I knew I had done the right thing – I probably should have done it sooner, for his sake, but it was one of the hardest and scariest things I’ve ever done in my life. Sometimes we need some larger force to push us to overcome our fears, to do the scary thing – that’s what happened to me. Looking back, I wish I’d had the courage to do the right thing for HIM sooner, even if it was painful for a while (isn’t change always painful?) the payoff was more than worth it.
When the time came to leave, I took Perikeen and kissed him goodbye, told him I loved him and tossed him up into the air. He flew across the cage and landed on the opposite side of the enclosure – it was the first time I’d seen him actually fly in all of his eighteen years. He was a real bird, now – finally – and my heart expanded with the joy of it.
I didn’t need his forgiveness, after all . . . except, perhaps, for not allowing him this freedom sooner.
Very helpful in giving our parrot from Michigan to Florida. Attentive to details after the arrival of the parrot.
My blue and gold macaw, Sebastian, was my feathered baby. After much research and two visits to Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary, I knew I was putting him the best environment possible; a place where he could socialize with his kind and live his long life to the fullest. Pat took him in and has taken good care of him for many years. I can only thank the sanctuary from the bottom of my heart. I now have peace of mind knowing he is happy.
Three years ago I brought by Blue and Gold Macaw to live at the sanctuary. I have visited a few times and he is happy, content and, I think, in love.... I could not have picked a better place for my beloved bird and knowing he is happy makes me happy. I now donate regularly to Pat's sanctuary as a way to take care of him and other birds that are so kindly adopted by Pat. I hope that everyone understands how hard it is to take care of these wonderful creatures and helps to keep the sanctuary going.
Nearly New Thrift
Benefiting Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary...
I had occasion to visit this facility in November of 2015. With much trepidation, I agreed to place by Blue and Gold and Scarlet Macaws with FEBS. I have had these birds for 20+ years, raised the Scarlet from a hatchling. I was relocating to an altitude of 9000 feet and there was no way I could keep the birds in their aviary and I was not going to force them into an indoor cage. I knew there was no way I would sell them or rehome them, only to have them sold again or not given the care I gave them. My birds spent their entire lives in an outdoor aviary with lots of stimulation and attention. I spent some time talking with Bob Cook and finally made my way to Florida. I brought the birds and their aviary. When I arrived Bob was there and in no time the caretaker (who lives on site, SORRY I forgot his name) had their aviary together and made sure there were toys and branches. While all this took place (several hours) I had free roam of the sanctuary. No place was "off limits". I was amazed at all the birds. Yes, some of them were in temporary cages, some were in large flight cages and there was a huge aviary under construction for the Macaws. EVERY cage had food, water, branches and toys. I will say this, I don't know how the one caretaker does it all. He is on-site and this man REALLY cares about these birds. He is a very nice man and was willing to discuss all of his catering duties with me. I don't think anyplace is perfect. Not even a zoo. I have seen some zoos that I would never put my birds in! FEBS really cares about these birds and does what they can to enlarge flights, provide quality food and fresh foods and nuts. In addition, if I call, I am able to get updates about my birds. I can visit without having any questions asked. Did it cost for me to place my birds? Sure! And it wasn't exactly cheap. But then I wasn't looking for cheap, I was looking for as much peace of mind that I could find.
I recently visited this beautiful sanctuary and was so impressed with its beauty and with the knowledge and care of the birds.
The facility was immaculately maintained and the birds seemed very happy there!
If I ever have a bird I couldn't take care of, I would certainly leave it in their care, with a peaceful mine and heart.
I love this place! The birds are so loved and happy!
I visited this business and was totally amazed with the compassion and energy the staff have toward the parrots they care for. This is a very organized and dedicated group of people, with a sole mission to rescue parrots and educate the public about the awesome responsibility to care for these birds. Go see them and get educated!
This place is unbelievable! An amazing amount of various birds. The employees and volunteers were so helpful and knowledgeable. The birds are given exceptional care and the cages are full of toys and very clean. My favorite bird was "Precious ". She dances and says, "Go precious, go Precious! I'll be back!
As a volunteer for over a year at this sanctuary, I find it appalling that someone would get on this forum and trash their hard word and dedication. I have access to the entire facility and there are no nesting boxes, birds missing or even being adopted. Anyone that reads the lies and garbage being put here by this ONE individual ( you can tell that it is the same person by the broken English and the same accusations, he even uses pictures from the web to try and show that they came from our sanctuary) it is really sad that an ex volunteer would do such a thing! He left because he wanted Patricia to sell the cages and birds and split the money with him so when she refused to do so, he left and opened a "so called sanctuary" of his own in Tampa. Please visit our facility and then his. Night and day! He is being investigated by this forum for what he is doing and has already been contacted by our attorney for slander. All of the staff and volunteers at FEBS work very hard and truly do not have time for this kind of nonsense.
Thank you so much, we love our volunteers!!!
I just got home from another great visit at FEBS! Thanks to Patricia and all of the volunteers/workers at FEBS for their hard work. It really shows. The new sanctuary in Hudson is amazing... and "Paul" the caretaker was nice and worked very good with the birds. They really take time to show the birds love and attention. My macaw "Zsa Zsa" has problems with biting her feet around breeding season. Patricia takes the time to put ointment on her feet to make it better, which says a lot because in the past I have been the only one who has been able to pick her up!
I'm not sure why someone is commenting hateful comments on this review page. They're obviously written by the same person, (check the broken English.) What a shame it is that instead of helping other rescues, this person is attacking them. I would recommend that if someone is doubtful about the work this sanctuary does, give them a call and make a visit to see for yourself how awesome they are!
Bringing my Catalina macaw "Zsa Zsa" to Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary has been the best decision that I have ever made for her! I had her in my care for 4 great years, but felt guilty keeping her in a cage for most of her life, alone and without other macaws. Macaws are very social in the wild and have constant stimulation and exercise. I am over joyed with the love that they give to ALL of the birds in their care. Every staff member and volunteer has been nice and honest with me. Zsa Zsa has been at the sanctuary since the end of April. She is very comfortable there. When I brought her to see all of the healthy and lively birds, she immediately was interested, yet calm. When I set up her acclimation cage she went inside and ate her food right away. She has always been a "mama's bird" and not wanting to leave my side, but she wasn't nervous at all when I brought her.... she still isn't when I visit her. The staff is also really good about communication so when I left her I was able to keep in touch without a problem.
If you are thinking about bringing your bird here for a forever home I strongly recommend this place without a doubt. If you have any doubts about the sanctuary then make a phone call to them and plan a visit! Ask questions, look at the great condition all the parrots are in, the healthy food they eat, the clean water they drink, and the beautiful property they get to enjoy every day. Just make sure to say hi to Zsa Zsa!
If you have any questions, (as I did many in the beginning of this journey,) feel free to leave a COMMENT below this post or e-mail me at email@example.com