There are several other avian rescue and sanctuaries in the area, and while we do not recommend specific organizations as we do not know their day to day operations or financial situation, we have compiled a list of points to look for in legitimate avian organizations below so you may complete your own research on what institution is best for you and your feathered companion.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN DECIDING WHERE YOU WOULD LIKE YOUR PARROT(S) TO GO:
1 – Make sure they are a legitimate registered non-profit with the state of Florida (http://www.sunbiz.org/)
2 – Make sure they are a legitimate 501c3 registered with the IRS (http://www.irs.gov/) and that the name they are registered under with the IRS is actually the name of the rescue/sanctuary and that they are not using someone else’s 501c3
3 – Check www.guidestar.org or www.thegivingpartner.guidestar.org to see if the sanctuary/rescue is transparent with their funds and what they do with them – the major expenditure of a sanctuary or rescue should be vet bills (unless they are a large sanctuary with a full time staff rather than volunteers – if so, that will be up there with the amount of funds spent on vetting). You can register with guidestar for free (it’s very easy) in order to see 990’s for that sanctuary or rescue. If a sanctuary receives “free” vetting (which is rare) verify that with their veterinarian and verify that every bird is seen on a regular basis, not just when they are sick.
4- Make sure there are no current or past complaints with the department of Agriculture for the state or with the local animal services in the county of which the rescue or sanctuary is registered, also make sure they have the proper licenses with FWC. Also check for complaints on-line.
5 – Ask a lot of questions – sanctuaries and rescues with nothing to hide will be happy to answer those questions, including who their vet or vets are, how often they vet the birds (birds should be vetted yearly and in between when needed if showing illness or injury) and call those vets offices to confirm. Also ask how long have they been around and how many birds have they taken in that time -if they have not been around for long – does it seem like a lot?
6 – If a sanctuary, go to the location and make sure the flights are predator proof (dug into the ground at least 1 foot with non-toxic wire on each side to keep out diggers and/or on a cement platform) and that they are really feeding what they say they are (which should be a mainly pelleted diet, 50-60%, with about 30-40% fresh veggies, and fruits less than 10% with nuts as treats, seeds are not a good diet for birds and some should not even have them at all, so make sure that is not the main part of their diet) also look for cleanliness, and ask what they do when it is cold out to keep the flights warm and vice versa when it is very hot. Also make sure that the sanctuary has reports on the soil and water on property showing the location is safe for animals to be on. Also ask how they introduce new birds to a flight, birds should be in quarantine after vetting for about 30-45 days and then should be slowly introduced into a flight with other birds, not just shoved in hoping that all the birds get along and no one gets hurt. Also ask what the sanctuary or rescue does in the event of an evacuation due to hurricane or other bad weather.
7 – Ask what will happen to the birds in the rescue or sanctuary once the person who runs it is no longer able. Your best rescues and sanctuaries will have a large network of officers and volunteers, plans in place for the future when the current president/director can no longer volunteer for the sanctuary, and will be fiscally sound. Reputable rescues and sanctuaries will have their financials registered with the IRS where you can request them and some will even give them directly to you if they have an accountant on staff who can provide that information quickly.
8 – Make sure the property the birds are located on is actually owned by the sanctuary, not rented, not leased, etc.. where the sanctuary and hence the birds can be thrown off the property at any time, but actually outright owned by or outright mortgaged by the sanctuary itself (and not an individual, but the actual sanctuary).
9 – Real avian rescues and sanctuaries DO NOT breed OR sell baby birds bred specifically for selling to help “raise funds to help run the rescue/sanctuary”. There are so many birds in need, breeding should never be part of the paradigm of a true rescue or sanctuary.