Paradise Found: Harlem's bird sanctuary gives animals a second chance at life while educating communities

Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019
News 12 This Morning

Feathered Friends Forever bird sanctuary is making waves in Harlem. (Source: WRDW)

HARLEM, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- When you think of Harlem, Georgia, you may not think of a bird sanctuary. But it's home to one of the biggest in the country, and it keeps getting bigger.

For Mel Minitor, Feathered Friends Forever in Harlem is paradise.

"My first experience here I knew nothing about birds and I fell in love," Minitor said.

For birds, this is a sanctuary and, for some of them, it's their second shot at life.

"Birds that have been in natural disasters and all, they get shipped here as well," Minitor said.

Feathered Friends Forever has sat in Harlem for years, with volunteers taking care of birds from across the country for various reasons.

"Not only are we a rescue here in a Harlem, but we're a sanctuary. Many of these birds are willed to us for life," Minitor said. "Right now, about 43 states ship us their birds from around the U.S."

Just last weekend the sanctuary opened three new buildings, including "The Amazon Rainforest", which is now home to more than 50 macaws.

"It's a whole new experience for them and its as natural a reality that we can possibly give them and still be in captivity."

The sanctuary also has new buildings just for educational purposes.

"This is a full educational program. We are now accredited and we've got selfie stations all over the place, so its a great clean place for family entertainment."

All they ask for is a $10 donation per guest entry to keep the volunteer-run sanctuary alive.

"Being able to have these birds here allows us to experience a lot of things that we normally would not have."

Classes are taking field trips to the sanctuary as well. If you're interested in checking out Feathered Friends Forever, they're open on the weekends.

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