(above photo) Feathered Friends Forever “Special Needs” Bird cages in foreground, Birds On The Brink Sanctuary Flight in background.
How did Birds on the Brink come about? It was a brainchild of Maxine Jones, the visionary for our new sanctuary, Birds On The Brink. Here, in her own words:
“Years ago, I had a beloved Moluccan Cockatoo named Shashi who was a great companion and loads of fun. He used to do the laundry and the dishes with me. But at one point I said, this isn’t right. He started to get uncomfortable and pull out his feathers, as he wasn’t doing too well in the environment. He wasn’t a bird, he was a pet. I brought him to Feathered Friends Forever, the only bird rescue in the country that would allow him to be in a flight and not a cage. I just didn’t feel right putting him into another home environment where he wouldn’t have been allowed to be a fully flighted bird. He’s been there now 10 years, is fully flighted, has many friends and is the happiest bird ever.
“What’s amazing about this is that, Ron Johnson, who started Feathered Friends Forever, at that time also had a Moluccan Cockatoo named Oscar. And he had an African Grey parrot named Pepper. I had an African Grey named Fred! We both had the exact same birds!
“These birds have very long lives, you know. At the Birds on the Brink Sanctuary, we’re looking at these birds living up to 100 years or more. Right now we have one that’s 84. And as a sanctuary, we can provide things for these birds that a rescue operation cannot. For example, Blue Parrots adore macadamia nuts. But those are not sold in the USA, so we import them for this particular species. And Macaws love to be up on a clay cliff, their natural habitat. We import that clay and create the cliff for them.
“Sanctuaries are homes for those things that we can take care of that are not going to be adopted out. Not going into people’s homes. These are not pets. And unlike a rescue or birds living in people’s homes, these birds are fully flighted. If they don’t know how to fly when they come (because their feathers have been clipped living in captivity), they have no idea that they can fly! Once they are fully feathered, which takes a year, they have to be taught how to fly. A sanctuary is where they can do that.
“The flight they’re in allows them to fly and seek the place where they are most comfortable. If they like being on a cliff, they go to the top of the enclosure. If they like to sit on a tree branch, they sit on that level. In a bush, they can be there. If they’re ground beaters, they walk along the ground.
“But even in a flighted environment, it takes a parrot 3-5 years to adapt and adjust to a new family. Dogs can in a few months.”
By Heidi Walter, contributing writer, Feathered Friends Forever
Editor/Writer at BirdsontheBrink.com