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.
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.
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 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.
The Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary makes as its mission the care of those exotic birds who are in desperate need of a new home for life. For Exotic birds this can mean a lifetime of up to 100 years, that is no small feat. FEBS is in the middle of a major transformation, which includes a huge new building that will support many current and future needs. FEBS is also building a state of the art special needs Macaw flight aviary. One of the first of its kind in the Nation. The problem of birds who live very long lives and are in need of homes for life is, as Dom Deluise so eloquently reminded us just before his passing, "reaching epidemic proportions". FEBS is fighting the good fight for our feathered friends. Bravo !
April 28, 2016