Q. How many birds do you have at the Rescue?
A. Currently we have about 1400 residents at the Harlem facility.
Q. How can I get your Mailing List?
A. Just enter your email address in the Sign Up for FFF Newsletter block to the right>>>. It comes out the first week of each month. When you sign up, you will get back issues about a day apart from the archieve. You can submit pictures and parrot tips, and even sponsor the newsletter for a month.
Q. How big is your facility?
A. We are located on 10 acres in Harlem, Georgia.
- This is a natural setting with about 5 acres cleared and the rest being cleared in 2016 for future expansion. (There’s plenty to do if you like working outside!)
- We have over 23 bird enclosure areas
Q. Can we visit Feathered Friends in person?
A. Please do! We are open to the public as follows:
- SUMMER ~ Saturday & Sunday 11am to 4pm
- WINTER ~ Saturday & Sunday 11am to 4pm
- Other times are available by appointment for groups.
- We will try to accomodate any out of town guests during the week by appointment.
- Please note that this is Posted Private Property and as such we strongly discourage anyone from just “wandering around” while we are closed. Anyone caught trespassing or tampering with any birds or property will be subject to legal action.
Q. Can we bring a large group?
A. Glad to have you! We have been visited by Scouts, schools, churches, military and others.
- To bring a large group, please call in advance so we can accommodate everyone.
- Please provide a contact names and cell phone numbers so we can reach you if we need to alter your tour. In addition, please be courteous and call us if your schedule changes.
- Groups are encouraged to visit on the weekends when we have more volunteers, but we can arrange a time during the week by appointment. Also note that we may close the Rescue to visitor during inclement weather.
Q. Can we have lunch there?
A. Sure – as long as you bring it with you!
- We have a couple picnic tables and a bunch of chairs.
- Trash cans are provided so please make sure everyone cleans up their trash.
- We don’t provide or sell any food or beverages except during our fundraiser events.
Q. Where should we park?
A. Once you pull into the property, you can park in the posted area at the top of the driveway.
- For those with wheelchairs or disabilities, just call ahead and we will direct you to our handclapped parking area.
- Cars and vans have plenty of room. If you plan on bringing a full size bus, you may want to call ahead. The road loops back around to Old Augusta Hwy so it isn’t necessary to turn around. Please call if you have any questions.
Q. What is the outdoor area like?
A. We try to keep the Park as natural as possible. It is not intended to be a city park. Remember this is a parrot sanctuary. Part of it is on a gentle hill and it is planted with a number of different bushes and trees. We are constantly remodeling and building so some areas may be closed or off limits.
Q. Is there an Admission charge?
A. Feathered Friends is funded entirely by tax deductible donations. We don’t have a fixed fee but rather leave that to your personal generosity. Zoos generally charge around $15 per person while the Georgia Aquarium tickets range from $29 to $69 for adults. They also receive state funding, but we don’t. Encourage your children to help too! We would ask you donate $10,00 or more.
Q. How do I leave a donation when I’m there?
A. There is a “Drop Box” and a jug located by the sign in book for cash and checks, or you may simply give it to any staff member. If you would like to donate by credit card, Ron has the machine inside the main building, along with receipts for tax purposes. If you forget, you can always click the PayPal link on the website when you get home.
Q. What are the rules for visiting the rescue?
A. We only have a few:
- Please sign the guest book at the Welcome Center. This gives us a record of attendance for future Georgia DOT signage on the highway. There should be a Donation Jug by the book.
- NO open toed shoe or flip-flops. This is a natural setting and as such there may be pine cones or small branches on the ground. Since this is Georgia, we have our share of fire ants, despite all efforts to safely control them. This is an animal sanctuary so watch where you step! (Don’t worry – it’s all organic.)
- No running, yelling or throwing things on the property. We don’t want any one injured, especially the birds.
- Never put your fingers against or inside the cage wires. Some birds may appear to want you pet them but can turn and bite instantly. This is especially important for children. All adults and parents are solely responsible for yourselves, your family and any guests you bring.
- There are other resident animals who roam the rescue. While they are friendly, please don’t try to pick them up as they don’t know you.
- If you are sick, especially those with colds, flu or other respiratory ailments, please postpone your visit until you are well. Sometimes this could be passed on to the birds and nobody wants to deal with a runny beak.
- Please understand that we have to feed and care for all the birds on a daily basis. This means that we may be cleaning cages or doing other tasks while you are here, so don’t worry about seeds on the floor.
- The main building is Off Limits to visitors.
- Have fun and tell all your friends about the rescue. We don’t do much advertising and count on YOU to spread the word about Feathered Friends. Informational flyers are available, just ask.
Q. Is there anything I can bring to enhance the experience when I visit?
A. Fresh fruits, nuts, and veggies are bird delights and you can feed many of them in the outside aviaries provided you are accompanied by a staff member. Apples and oranges should be washed and cut into bite size pieces, just like you would do for your kids. Seedless grapes are a favorite. Bananas can be peeled and broken up for each bird.
- During the summer you should bring sunscreen and bug repellent, as this is the great outdoors.
- If you would like to bring a gift for the birds, they always enjoy new perches. The rough surface plastic ones are best, in all sizes.
Q. Is there anything I can’t bring?
A. Never bring raw peanuts, chocolate or avocado (in any form) on the premises, as these can be fatal if eaten by a bird.
- This also means that children should not be allowed to have candy while visiting. For the safety of the birds, this will be disposed of immediately.
- Please understand the importance of this!
Q. May I take pictures?
A. Pictures and video may be taken with permission of staff members only.
Q. Can I pet one of the parrots?
A. Sorry, but we must limit direct interaction to our volunteers and those folks with approved adoption applications only. This is for your safety and the safety of the entire flock here. It’s possible for someone to handle a sick bird elsewhere and transmit those germs to one of our healthy ones. You would not want that on your conscience, would you?
Q. Do you ever do local events with the birds?
A. We try to take one or more of the birds to area events providing the weather is right for them. Sometimes we have a booth, other times we just walk around and let the birds enjoy people watching. We have been at the Oliver Hardy festival, Patriots Park 4th of July, the Columbia County Fair, a few Harley events and the occasional good will visit. Generally we can’t take live birds into areas where food is served without express permission.
- Watch the Newsletter for events we will be attending.
- Friends Forever Newsletter Signup
Q. Isn’t it extremely noisy there?
A. It is noisy outside, but with nearly 10 acres, our neighbors are not close enough to be bothered by it. Some of the birds love to talk while others are content to sit quietly and watch. The outer porch area where adoptable birds are housed can be rather loud due to the size. If you have sensitive hearing, bring your ear plugs along. Be aware that some parrots may sit quietly until you get real close, then “show off” with a few loud calls. Max is now our resident expert in really loud squawking!
Q. What about the tall grass and weeds in the outdoor flights?
A. While some folks think all grass should look like a putting green, the birds actually enjoy this natural foliage.
- What appears as weeds are actually plants that produce seeds that birds consume. This provides a more natural environment for them. Tall grass gives the birds a place to hide, play and forage just like they do in the wild.
- We encourage our birds to be Birds!
Q. How do you manage to spend time with that many parrots?
A. Birds here are on a schedule for free time and play time. We have people here 24/7 to play with and attend to the birds. Some do not want attention, but those that do always enjoy company. One of the “perks” for the volunteers is spending time with the different parrots, both inside and outside.
Q. Do you have help? Can I volunteer?
A. We have 24/7 staff plus volunteers who come by on weekdays and weekends. However, we are always looking for more volunteers! Read about it on the Volunteer page in the website. We also provide an opportunity for those with community service hours to do something enjoyable and constructive.
Q. Is there a limit on how many birds you will take, or will you always continue to take in unwanted birds?
A. At the persent time the rescue is operating at full. There is a waiting list for placing birds.
Q. How do I adopt a parrot of my own?
A. The first step is to fill out the Adoption Application on the website and submit it with the Processing Donation. Once this is approved (not all of them are) you must come to the rescue in person and see which bird picks you. Understand that a parrot is a lifetime companion! There is more information about this under the “How You Can Help” tab and “Adopt A Bird”. Please read it and understand what having a parrot really entails. There are also many articles on the internet about what it takes to have a companion parrot.
Q. I want a companion for my bird. Can I bring it to see who it might like?
A. Sorry, but no.
- Our adoption process is spelled out in detail and we first match any of our birds to the humans. We can make recommendations about potential compatibility but there is no way to tell for sure.
- Also understand that we are responsible for the health and well being of this entire flock. Should your bird have an illness that is contagious, you can imagine the impact here.
Q. What do you do with the donations you receive?
A. All financial support goes into the operation of the rescue. Unlike other “charities” we have no paid staff and everyone here, including the Board of Directors, are all volunteers. As required, our books are open to inspection.
Q. How did you start rescuing parrots?
A. We started rescuing because of a promise Ron made over 30 years ago, when he had to give up 2 of his own birds before he went into the military. He pledged that when he had the time and money, he would make it up to any other birds in the same position. Feathered Friends is a military deployment facility to keep birds while their owners are serving overseas, as well as a Hurricane Evacuation Route parrot shelter.
Q. Can you take injured wild birds like hawks or geese?.
A. At the present time we only accept tropical birds from finches to macaws. We cannot – by law – take any wild birds. These should be directed to your area Department of Natural Resources.
- In Georgia: 800-685-5120 or your local Game Warden. They have contacts with facilities that care for wild species. Your local veterinarian may be able to help as well.
- Q. Do you breed your birds?
A. No! We do not breed parrots here.
- Further, we discourage all commercial or private breeding, as there are too many birds without homes already.
- Adoption is a much better alternative, since you can interact with the bird and make sure you are compatible before taking one home.
- Occasionally you may see an egg or two on the ground, particularly in the Cockatiel area. These are normally not fertile and ignored by the female. We do not need to intervene.
Q. Do you ever buy or sell any birds?
A. NO. This is a sanctuary, not a pet store.
- We have hundreds of birds here because of the “for profit only” stores and breeders. Birds are available for adoption to those who have submitted an Application and been approved.
- However, if someone insists on “buying” a bird, we have some very nice stuffed ones available for a reasonable donation. These also make great gifts!
Q. What does it cost to adopt a parrot?
A. Our adoption fees are based on the needs and housing for each bird for such things as food or vet bills. These fees then go into the continued operation of the Rescue.
- We do not give information on specific birds over the phone or by email until your application is approved.
- However, as a guide, adopting is about 1/4 to 1/2 the cost of pet stores or breeders.
- You also need to fully understand ALL the costs of having a feathered companion before you adopt.
Q. Can someone come to my school or event and talk about bird care? Can you bring some of your birds?
A. We will arrange speaking engagements for all who want us by appointment. We can bring a few birds for folks to interact with, but you must be sure that having live animals in your facility is acceptable.
- Since it is difficult to travel by air with parrots, we like to keep it within driving distance.
- We do request your tax deductible donations to cover expenses.
Q. How can I start a rescue?
A. While this appears to be a great occupation, keep in mind that it is a 24/7 job and a lifetime career. There are strict licensing requirements, facilities management, daily cleaning and feeding, fund raising, public events, dealing with the public and NO vacations! If you are considering this, we would suggest that you volunteer at an existing Rescue for at least a year as sort of an apprentice program. Learn about the birds, what is required to keep them happy and healthy, how to construct aviaries and what it really means to do all this every day. The work is hard and the rewards are great. You need to see both sides and you are welcome to apprentice here at Feathered Friends Forever.
There are no salaries for Board members, Staff or Volunteers. Everyone does it for the love of the birds and the organization. Isn’t that how a true non-profit charity should be??
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