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!
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.
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...
My husband and I have been donating to FEBS for several years. We also volunteered a day to help build aviaries and do landscaping at their new property. FEBS has purchased five acres so they can move and increase the number of birds that they can help. Every dollar they take in is used judiciously to make life better for birds who need a forever home. They care for all parrots from large macaws to small cockatiels. There is also an incredible group of dedicated volunteers who help make this happen. Expansion plans include an education center to help people understand that "birds need to be birds". Parrots are sometimes the "forgotten" creatures when it comes to animal welfare. Please donate to this worthy organization.
Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary continues to exceed my expectations as they work hard to expand their facility. They have used your generous donations to purchase land that has the potential to let them double the number of birds that they can care for. With an ever increasing number of birds that are relinquished or abandoned because of economic issues, they are bursting at the seams and need the space. They are creative and successful in approaching and getting help from local businesses. Any dollar donated here is well spent and maximized.
I needed a safe and as close to natural setting available for my parrot and Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary was perfect. The intake process of bringing my bird to the sanctuary, learning what the quarantine process was, and then seeing the aviary he would be joining was great.
I came to visit several weeks later and my bird was doing great! The aviary is large and open with plenty of room to fly, play with the other birds and toys, and be a bird. This is what I wanted for my baby. He also has found a buddy who preens and loves him. I couldn't be happier.
Yes, my brother, only 3 years older than me, had passed away. He left his two exotic Amazon Double Yellow-Head Parrots (Cisco and Ciara), and a large, wonderful cat that I now call, Chappy. I fostered his parrots for about 7 months, and it was a love affair from the beginning, but at my age then (65) realized they were just too much for me to handle in a way that was the best for 'them'.
I began an intensive research on what would be the best environment for them regarding a new home: Try to find someone to pass them over to, or surrender them to a bird sanctuary! I talked with others I knew that had parrots, and I GOOGLED for sanctuaries across the USA. I found several, a couple in California, one near the east coast, and two in Florida. After reading about them, and making contacts with some of the sanctuaries, I decided - WITHOUT A DOUBT - the best place for them was the FLORIDA EXOTIC BIRD SANCTUARY (FEBS) in Wesley Chapel, Florida (currently).
As I talked with Patricia (Owner/Founder, and Avian Veterinarian) of the Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary I realized this was the best place for any domesticated parrot. From the time we pulled into the driveway at the FEBS we were immediately greeted by a volunteer and Patricia. -- My parrots were both very, very keen on all the sounds of all the many, many parrots (380) already residing at the sanctuary. -- We transferred Cisco & Ciara into a large 'holding' cage (that they had waiting for them) located in the holding area. Then, we were given a thorough tour of the sanctuary.
FEBS is a wonderful, non-for-profit organization, that truly understands and cares for the needs of these beautiful birds. This sanctuary does now allow the bird to breed, nor do they sell or adopt out any of the birds; the parrots will live out the remainder of their life socializing with other parrots of their kind; feeling free and able to actually 'fly' as they were naturally meant to live. All of the parrots that are surrendered to the sanctuary are gently cared for by the staff and volunteers.
I surrendered my brother's parrots (Cisco & Ciara) to the sanctuary in November 2013 and I plan to visit them maybe this Fall 2014. I am hoping they will remember me, and I cannot wait too see how they are getting along, if they have grown, and how happy they are now . . . socializing with other Amazons and feeling free!
I cannot find the best words to express how I feel about the sanctuary that Patricia has founded, from her love of birds / exotic birds, and from her keen awareness of the need for such a sanctuary.
Barbara Spanknoble, Lenexa, Kansas
After 2 years of searching and investigating I found FEBS. Several visits reenforced my hopes for a sanctuary that had large flights, was clean, not overcrowded and fed the birds a great diet. I placed Sugar, Mollucan cockatoo, there to have a happy social life with room to fly and never be sold or bred. During my recent visit I was invited into the cockatoo flight where I was instantly welcomed by friendly birds that wanted to perch on me and be stroked. I know without doubt that I've placed my love of 20 years with the finest sanctuary. Bless Pat norton and her dedicated staff
As age related health issues became an issue as to how well we could provide a quality social life to Sugar (Mollucan cockatoo) we began our 2 year search for a quality home . After checking adaption sites from Florida to Washington state we twice visited FEBS and found it to be a beatifully maintained facility staffed by hard working and very compassionate people under the leadership of Pat Norton. The adapted birds of all species enjoy a life in large flights. Surprisingly in spite of the number of birds, Pat and her staff know each one by name. Sugar was carefully introduced into a large flight with other cockatoos and is now enjoying life as a family member. This was an extremely dificult decision to part with him as we had him from the time he was a 14 gram neonate til now(22 years). It is comforting to know that he will always be fed, cared for and never be sold to anyone as a breeder or pet. Hopefully in the near future FEBS will find a larger property so they can expand their mission.Let us not forget that they need our continued support.
I appreciate all the loving work that goes into caring for these amazing, smart animals. Great job!!!!
What an absolute JOY it was to visit the Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary in January. I learned of this extraordinary sanctuary while doing estate planning for my five companion parrots. The moment I stepped foot on the property, I was struck by the beauty of the sanctuary and the peaceful, welcoming environment created for these Ambassadors of the Parrot Nation. I practice and teach the healing arts, and after touring the sanctuary, Pat Norton allowed me to play Native American healing flute for the birds and to participate in serving a client who was relinquishing their beloved male Indian Ringneck parrot to the sanctuary. I listened to joyful calls from a female Indian RIngneck parrot already living at the sanctuary to this new bird, and watched and played the flute while Pat introduced them. It was an amazing experience, as one bird welcomed the other as if she had been missing him her entire life! I witnessed Pat's incredible, comforting Presence and expertise as she talked to the family and the birds, creating for all of us a serene space of transition for family and parrot to a new life. After the family left, I walked the grounds and visited each flight. Then, Pat helped me through my fear of working with macaws by taking me into the macaw flight, and showing me how to feed them almonds. Once I overcame my fear, one by one, these beautiful macaws would land on my arms and take two almonds from my hand or the bucket I held containing these precious treats! I spent many hours at the sanctuary, witnessing the incredible compassion and love Pat, her family, and the volunteers have for all the birds. I left part of me at the sanctuary, knowing I had found the future home of my parrots and me, as my dream is to transition my birds to the sanctuary and volunteer there for the remainder of my life. I became a member of FEBS, and hope to return there permanently as soon as I can relocate. I am helping the sanctuary now by donations, and am so relieved to know that my family of five have the very best home awaiting them at FEBS. I am ever so grateful to have met Pat, whose loving presence and friendship is also helping me through the trials of being the sole caregiver for a family member with a chronic illness. You see, the love and concern Pat has for the parrots also extends to every living Being whose life she touches. She is a fantastic manager and business person, too, with a vision to expand the sanctuary so that more parrots and families like mine can be served in the future. I also participated in a matching funds program, which doubled the contribution I made to FEBS. I highly recommend FEBS as one of the Great Nonprofits in our country, and am deeply grateful to Pat and her staff for the loving work of their Hearts and Hands for our parrot companions.
A truly amazing organization and very thankful for the sanctuary taking care of our sun conure. Will always be a donor to the Exotic Bird Sanctuary.
The Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary took in our Sun Conure Dexter. My family is so happy and thankful Dexter has a home that he will enjoy and be safe. This organization is amazing and provides an amazing home for birds. It is very well run and we are very lucky to have them. I would again like to thank the FEBS for everything they do. Forever Grateful
I am overwhelmed by the work that the Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary does. Never have I seen so much compassion and love devoted to such a wonderful cause. The birds that come to this sanctuary need tons of attention, love, and caring and they ALL get just that. It's amazing! So many of these birds would never have had an opportunity to live a happy, healthy, quality life of just 'being a bird' had it not been for this organization. All the birds that make FEBS their 'Forever Home' thrive here even the ones that come in bad shape. With lots of love and attention they all relax, recover, and settle in with their new family - human AND feathered! Because of the passion and compassion that FEBS maintains my fiance and I have sponsored one of the birds there! This is an organization that I can stand behind and support! I hope you decide to as well!
I was really impressed with the way FEBS cares for all their birds and you can tell that all their feathered residents are happy, healthy and absolutely adore their caretakers. FEBS makes sure that all the birds that come to live at their Sanctuary are healthy and happy and have plenty of interaction which is the thing that they need the most. They also provide an environment where birds can just be birds. The giant flight aviary that they have allows the birds to fly as they would in nature. FEBS also does not breed or adopt out. The birds that go to FEBS go there either because they've been abused, their stressed out or their families can not provide for them well enough anymore for whatever situation. When these birds go to FEBS they are arriving at their 'Forever home' where they can be a bird once again. I love this organization!
I have been associated with FEBS for over 10 years and am at awe at the work they do. By not adopting Parrots, but instead giving them their freedom I feel this will be the best Sanctuary for my Birds when I can no longer take care of them.
We have been looking for a home for our Hyacinth Macaw for some time now. Not just any home would do. We are getting up in years and would feel much better if we knew that if anything happens to us, FEBS will be the perfect home for her! Thank you for being there for us and for the great work you folks are doing!
This place is paradise!!!! all the birds are happy, Pat is an amazing person, she puts all of her effort to take care of this birds, everytime I got to the sanctuary I see how she cares for them! I'm happy to know that theres people like her in this world....
These are simply wonderful people! The woman who runs the place is a seemingly tireless advocate for these birds. I visited the place several months ago and it was clean and there were volunteers there taking care of the birds. Many people dont realize that their bird could outlive them. These wonderful people will take your bird and allow it to live out its life in relative freedom. If you love your own bird, you got to love these people. I cant say enough about this organization! Thomas Vaughan
When I met Pat Norton I was very impressed with her knowledge of parrot behavior and her love and commitment to all her adopted "fids" (feathered kids). I have six parrots of my own and after visiting the Sanctuary and seeing parrots flourish in a natural outdoor setting with proper environmental stimulation, I began the construction of my own outdoor aviary. Pat has devoted her life to providing protection for companion birds who, by no fault or choice of their own, cannot help themselves and depend on humans for their care. I would love to see the Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary raise the funds to expand, to grow into another natural-Florida destination equal to the Florida Aquarium or the Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach. Please support this wonderful nonprofit organization!
My family and I became interested in FEBS when we realized our large cockatoo was not a happy bird and needed to be around other birds like herself. We discovered FEBS on the internet and after visiting, we placed our pet, Cammy Sue, with Pat Norton, the administrator. That was over two years ago. My daughter and son-in-law go there every other month, taking enough fresh fruits and vegetable to feed all the birds for at least a month. I send food also, from PetSolutions and Drs. Foster & Smith websites. Since I am 73, I have not visited a whole lot, but this bird sanctuary is Tops. The birds are all well fed, their habitats kept clean, fresh water given daily and Pat observes them all on a daily basis. She is trained as a bird vet assistant and has done this for many years. She truly is dedicated to the birds and is a special person proving to my family that her main interests are for the birds and not for herself. In the heat of the summer, misters are set on a timer to keep the birds cool. In the winter heat lamps are used with cage blankets to offset the cold. Presently, the sanctuary is in need of expansion. I hope and deeply pray, that someone with land they don't need in the country, will consisder donating it to the sanctuary. There is a large list of birds waiting to be placed here, but there isn't room for them. Birds from all around the USA are residents now and I LOVE those beautiful creatures. They are so entertaining and tallented.