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.
You know what really gets me? There are posts on here, about specifically, bashing Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary, how they do not have some or all the birds that was placed in their care? GO LOOK FOR YOURSELF! Each and EVERY member is that was placed in the care of Pat Norton, IS STILL THERE! HAPPY AND VERY PEACEFUL! The facilities that you should be aware of, is the one that is posting LIES and false information out on the web. Please take the time to prove to yourself, where your dear friend should be placed ... someone that actually KNOWS how to take care of a parrot and give them a VERY AMAZING home, or with someone that doesn't know their *** from a hole in the ground.
Ask that sanctuary, .. who their vet is, ask for their name and contact information, how long they have been a provider, are they licensed with the state, certified to even give your parrot a proper home.... MANY MORE questions need to be asked. You are the fool if you do not ask specifics before you place your parrot with any sanctuary, let alone zahksee.
I am owned by 16-17 year young African Grey parrot named Ashye. As my husband and I are not spring chickens anymore, we have been looking to prepare for her future, when we will no longer be here to care for her. As most people know, parrots require lots of attention, good, fresh foods and are a lifetime commitment.
We discovered FEBS after lots of research and knew we needed to go the next step. We contacted Patricia and scheduled a day to visit the sanctuary in person.
When we arrived we were greeted by a cacophany of whistles, hellos and other common noises made by parrots when someone new enters their home. We were delighted to see that newcomers were quarantined to ensure the other members would not become ill and to allow the new guests a chance to view their new forever homes from a small distance. We had planned on being gone about an hour but were surpeised when we realized we had been there for 3! We toured the entire facility and spoke extensively with Patricia about the sanctuary and her plans and goals for the residents.
After much consideration we have added a Pet Trust to our wills and included a codicil that will have Patricia meeting Ashye to take her to her new home when the time arises.
Between now and then we contribute when we can to the Sanctuary and have even helped raise new aviaries at the new site.
i would highly recommend this organization as a valuable place for your feathered friends to live out their lives as "birds" and to visit and volunteer whenever you can.
I know Ashye will be well cared for, well fed and loved after we are gone.
I love Patricia and all the people at Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary. They have a pair of my birds I could no longer care for myself. I trust them and that isn't easy with birds you love and are family. I appreciate them and what they also do in avian education. I am so thankful that I found them. It was worth the very long drive from states away. Pam
I cared for my Cockatoo, Beasley, for over 20 years. Once I saw Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary, I knew I had found his forever home - one where he could really BE a bird and not just a pet. Beasley has been living there now for almost a year and he is looking forward to a new aviary where he can fly like he was never able to as a pet. This is a truly unusual organization. Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary doesn't just take parrots that people can no longer care for, they guarantee that parrot a home that will never change. Many parrot sanctuaries re-home the birds they receive, but not Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary. The parrots that come to live here will never have to be a pet and subject to someone's whims, no matter how kind, again.
When we had to give up our male Blue and Gold Macaw, Elvis, three years ago, we found this wonderful sanctuary. Every visit back has confirmed our expectations. The folks at the Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary do a magnificent job with their charges. We cannot thank them enough.
When it is no longer possible to keep a large parrot in a home the Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary is a godsend. Because of bird breeders, many people now own Macaws and other large birds as pets. Often, after many years, these birds become too aggressive to continue as companion animals. That is when the large aviaries and expert staff at the Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary come to the rescue. We had to surrender Elvis, our blue and gold macaw, after ten years. We had originally received Elvis as a rescue, and as we had already had another smaller parrot for many years, we felt capable of caring for him. All went well until he reached approximately the age of 18 - our sweet bird became too aggressive to handle. It was heartbreaking for us, but we know he is happy and well cared for. It was very important to us that he would not be up for adoption. These birds live a long time, and there are many of them out there who will need the sanctuary this organization provides.
A year ago I made the most difficult decision I've ever had to make in my 5 decades of life. I had raised my greenwing macaw from her hatch date, February 2003. We were bonded or so I thought. At age eleven she started displaying signs of sexual maturity and was becoming increasingly aggressive towards me. Greenwings are pretty much one person birds so I was the only one that could handle her without getting bit, but as I said, she was becoming dangerously aggressive, jealous of the other animals and my husband. On top of that, taking her to the vet for the quarterly wing clipping and beak grinding was starting to grind on my guilt. What was I doing to this poor creature? She was a bird with natural bird instincts and here I was trying to domesticate her. That's when Pat Norton swooped into my life on the internet, and cooed those magic words, "We allow your bird to just be a bird." Like I said, it was the hardest thing for me to let go of a creature that I thought that I would have forever. But Pat Norton's kind nature, the existence of the sanctuary and it's volunteers not only made my decision easier but possible. I still miss my bird, but a simple phone call or texted picture dries up whatever tears I may shed. I made the right decision and the best choice for my bird. I am so glad that I found FEBS!
My very good friend, Dude, a 20 year old miligold macaw, has been in the compassionate and capable care of FEBS since late 2011. He is thriving there and has even become paired with a very cute, he tells me, Blue & Gold female macaw. As a retiring veterinarian, I searched and researched situations that would allow Dude the future he deserved, even though he could not follow us into our next life chapter. I am forever grateful for the extraordinary commitment the FEBS staff and volunteers make to assure birds like Dude a 'forever' home when it is most needed. I also am thankful for the other caring donors who make the continuation and expansion of this good work possible.
FEBS is a TRUE sanctuary in every sense of the word. We placed our cockatoo with them because we saw the love and care that every bird receives AND we knew that our bird would never have to leave the sanctuary. None of these birds are "nameless" creatures to any of the staff and every staff member takes time with these awesome birds. Every need is met for every bird. They are fed balanced diets, housed in clean and temperate environments, given regular medical care, and they are LOVED. Patricia Norton is lovingly called "Bird Mother" because she is a mother to these birds...they are all her babies. FEBS, Patricia Norton, and all of the staff are dedicated to the nurture and well being of these magnificent birds.
Our Macaw, Tango, is a permanent resident at FEBS and absolutely loves it. No more feather plucking and anxiety now that he has a flock to live with!
Our Blue & Gold Macaw, Tango, was placed with FEBS in 2012. He has blossomed in the outdoor aviary with fellow macaws and is living the life!