The World Parrot Refuge in Coombs is officially empty, with several hundred birds still looking for homes.
The 11-year-old facility that took in parrots from across the continent that could no longer be cared for, had been struggling in its final years and was embroiled in controversy since the death of its founder in February.
“As one member put it, it’s an incredibly sad story, but it’s actually turning into a good story with the birds going to good places,” said Jan Robson a spokesperson with the Greyhaven Exotic Bird Sanctuary in Vancouver which has taken the lead in finding new homes for the 600 birds they started with.
She said they were able to move about 100 smaller birds like budgies out to one place early on and have reunited more than 30 with their original owners who were now ready to take them back after circumstances had changed.
Of the more than 400 remaining birds about 100 were relocated temporarily to an old SPCA building in Nanaimo and the rest were taken to several different facilities throughout the greater Vancouver area.
“Unfortunately we’re trying not to advertise where the birds are because there’s been numerous break-ins and rocks were thrown at the windows of the Nanaimo facility,” Robson said.
“This brings out a lot of helpful, wonderful people, but it also brings out the other side.”
For Greyhaven, a non profit group that usual gets about 200 birds spread throughout the year, finding adequate new homes for that many birds is a massive task, costing them $50,000 a month in food and expenses.
Robson points out that many of the long living birds have complex needs and health issues and they are being very selective about choosing adoptive homes, but many people are stepping up.
She encourages people to go to the FAQ tab at greyhaven.bc.ca for more information including how to donate or apply to adopt a bird.