America's Largest Bird Rescue Partners with Pet Store

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Updated: Wed, 30 Jul 2014 01:14:19 EST

After dogs and cats, parrots are the 3rd largest abandoned pet population.  Now, a Macon pet store is teaming up with a Georgia bird shelter to educate owners and potential owners about this intelligent animal.

Feathered Friends Forever Rescue and Sanctuary, located near Augusta, is America’s largest non-profit parrot shelter, 2nd largest in the world.  It is teaming up the with Macon Petsmart to educate current parrot owners and potential owners on how to provide the right environment for the birds.

Bob Courtwright, a 9-year volunteer, helps care for the birds that he says are abandoned because people don't fully understand their nature and how to properly care for them. "You're dealing with a four-year-old child with a beak,” explains Courtwright.  “They're loud. They're noisy.  They're messy.  They can be destructive.  On the other hand, they can be just as loving as you can imagine," Courtwright continues.

The rescue currently houses more than 1400 birds of 53 different species, all falling under the parrot umbrella.  It was founded by a man who had to give his birds away when he entered military service. He promised himself he'd create a bird rescue when he returned. All workers, like Courtwright, are volunteers and most are vets.  He explains this partnership is necessary.  "We’re doing this mostly for education.  We want people to come out and learn about parrots, have a new respect for endangered species."

All the birds at the rescue have been abandoned by people who found they couldn't provide the care required by the birds, got divorced or died. The birds can live to be 100 years old, and Courtwright says getting the right match is all about letting the bird choose its human caretaker. "The bird would go to you; it wouldn't shy away,” says Courtwright.  “It avoids a lot of conflict, getting matched up with someone or something that's not compatible with the family," continues Courtwright.

If you are interested in adopting a bird, consider your home environment, such as other pets and small children that parrots won't like. Courtwright says when you do get matched with the right bird companion, a loving bond will form like any other relationship.

Feathered Friends Forever will be at the Petsmart off Eisenhower Parkway Saturday, August 9 and 23 from 11am to 3pm.  The free 30 minute educational seminars begin at 1pm.  They welcome families who might be looking to adopt or currently own a parrot.  They do ask if you currently have a bird that you leave your bird at home and bring your questions.  For more information, contact Feathered Friends Forever or Petsmart in Macon at 478-476-9564.

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