From Ron Johnson, CEO:
As we hit our 20 year mark in September 2017, we are now (once again) overhauling the entire rescue/sanctuary. In May 2006 we opened to the public.
For years, we have taken the care and welfare of our exotic flock to all new levels. We now have to take a giant leap into the future of the birds and the rescue/sanctuary.
We have always had exotic birds living in outdoor flights as flocks, their natural way to survive in the wild. Over the years, we have built and installed what we thought were some great flight areas. As time and weather began taking its toll, it was time to start replacing all of the existing flights with new, state of the art ones with automatic heat, automatic misters and automatic feeders. They are working out great, with each new one being built with improved changed for the betterment of the birds.
We designed and created a 13,500 gallon bio-pond for the birds to have continuous fresh drinking and bathing water. We added koi, plants, a sitting area and even a shaded area for just sitting and relaxing.
Our next step was to build more new flights for existing and incoming exotic birds, but then we had a major mouse issues as did tons of other outdoor areas. This put the building of new flights on the back burner to handle that issue.
Once corrected we had a great visitor in a lady by the name of Kira Johns. The poor lady was scared of a parakeet, but she saw what was needed to make all of the exotic birds happier here. We had no idea she was an author. She had some dreams and asked if they were possible to make happen. Sure was my answer, but raising the funds has always been a problem with an exotic parrot rescue. Everyone wants to help the poor dogs and cats around the world, but parrots aren’t even an afterthought. Her comment was, “If I raise it, can you build it?” The answer – hell yes.
Well, she had two online book auctions and a large checkbook to go with it. Not only did she raise the funds, but she also helped us build it. The Special Need Pavilion area for the two odd couples took us 16 months, thousands of dollars and a lot of hot summer hours to complete, but it’s done.
Her next project is the Rainbow Bridge Memorial Garden. I have no doubt that it will be a spectacular area.
Now we come to our newest project funded by bird, animal lovers and people with a vision for the future. Project name:
Beyond Feathered Friends.
This area is 100 % dedicated to the existence of endangered exotic parrots. Again I was asked if it could done and the cost. My answer – Let’s do it!
The front back section had to be completely leveled and rebuilt to handle their dreams. On October 17, 2017, the first of two giant flight frames was set in place and the concrete pad poured for the Endangered Species Education center.
As good old Paul Harvey said, now the rest of the story. They came to me with a handmade set of plans to expand their dreams even farther.
The second phase is to expand the rescue to make it more visitor friendly. A butterfly house, a tortoise area, and a place for kids as well as adults to spend the day, and they don’t have to drive hundreds of miles to do it.
The kid’s area (for children and the young at heart) is a gold mining area along with a section for precious and semi-precious stone mining. There will be new picnic areas for relaxing pleasure, birthday parties, and company picnics, including a cool misting sitting area as well.
With their help, the rescue will be the place in Georgia to spend the day.
We now have a complete Welcome Center, with souvenirs and all sorts of other goodies, including guided tours.
Welcome to our world, all 20 years of it and we’re still learning. That part will never end.
Feathered Friends Forever Rescue/Refuge, Inc. is a State-of-Georgia licensed animal shelter and 501(c)(3)nonprofit organization located in Harlem, Georgia. Feathered Friends works diligently to improve the lives of companion birds by providing them with an intermittent or permanent safe haven as it endeavors to further advance avian welfare through public education and awareness efforts.
Hours of operation:
Saturday and Sunday: 11am to 4pm
Other times are available by appointment.