Country's largest rescue for endangered, exotic parrots needs help

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News 12 at 11 o'clock / Sunday, June 2, 2013

HARLEM, Ga. (WRDW) -- Feathered Friends Forever is a nonprofit group based out of Harlem. The volunteers house over a thousand birds, and this weekend, they wanted to show them off.

“The biggest purpose we have is to make people aware of parrots. It's the third largest abandoned pet population in the U.S.,” said Bob Courtwright.

Courtwright is a volunteer and says birds are abandoned because people buy them without taking everything into consideration.

“People buy them as impulse items. They get it for their kids and find out that they bite or live longer than the family does,” he said.

The long life span makes it hard to place them and even harder to support them.

“Our cost goes up every year. With power, food and everything, we go through almost a ton of food a month,” Courtwright said.

The group doesn't take any state or federal funding for its operations. They totally depend on volunteers and donations and that's why Courtwright is glad Shabia Ranjeet showed up.

Ranjeet drove all the way from Loganville, a two-hour drive. She says she's willing to drive that far because she knows where these birds would end up if Feathered Friends didn't exist.

“They'd be dead. They would be abused, locked in an unkept, unclean, and in some unreasonable facility somewhere,” she said.

Courtwright says their main concern is caring for the birds and that's why the salaries are very low.

“We operate on a salary of $1 for the entire volunteer staff -- we're all veterans here. It's one of the few charities you'll find that has no paid staff,” Courtwright said.

So, remember every dollar that comes in goes back to supporting the birds.

If you're interested in giving time, talent or treasure to Feathered Friends Forever, check out their contact information:
Feathered Friends Forever Rescue and Sanctuary
612 Byrd Drive
Harlem, GA 30814
(706) 831-7223

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