A Place We Call Home - The Birds of Paradise Sanctuary and Rescue

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SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - Parrots are the third most popular family pet. But they may live up to 100 years. And when their owners are no longer able or willing to care for them, what happens to them?

Here on the Suncoast, there is a sanctuary for them.

That's one of the many things that makes the Suncoast a great place to call home.

Birds of Paradise Sanctuary and Rescue is home to more than 300 parrots.

Executive Director, Debbie Huckaby says,"We are a haven for exotic parrots from all over the country. Some come from abusive situations, some come a death in the family, sometimes the owners just can't take care of the birds anymore."

It's located on 6 and a half acres in east Manatee County. Debbie says, "It makes a perfect area for the parrots because we don't have very many neighbors. The parrots can be noisy. And surrounding us are just horse ranches and strawberry fields. It is the perfect setting."

There is a special area at the Sanctuary for parrots that are up for adoption.

Debbie says, "We socialize them thru the use of our volunteers. They stay ready to meet their forever family.

All adoptive families are carefully prescreened.

Debbie says, "They fill out an adoption application and they also have a home visit to make sure these parrots are going into a good quality home and can live out the rest of their days with their families."

The parrots that are not adoptable become permanent residents..

Debbie says, "Most of the parrots we have here for the rest of their lives are in the four huge free flight aviaries. They are divided into aviaries according to species. So the Macaws are together, the cockatoos are together. They are also placed in aviaries based on their personality. "

For a parrot its a great place to call home.

Debbie says, "The birds are able to fly freely, they have natural foraging items , they just love it."

The expenses here are about $6000 a month. "We pay for this thru the goodness of our supporters. We have followers all over the world , and we apply for grants. What we're looking for in the community is more community support."

They wouldn't be able to get by without the help of volunteers like Cindy Gordon.

She loves working with the parrots.

Cindy says, "They are very smart. They have the intelligence of a 2 to 5 year old."

She says, almost all the e parrots here can talk, because they lived with humans. And Cindy says they know what they are saying.

"If my phone starts ringing they will all say hello, hello, and one might say something like, answer that phone."