Bird group spreads awareness

A non-profit parrot lovers group is looking to raise awareness about the birds while looking to increase its membership.

Gail McCraw poses with Billy and a wood sculpture that the parrot helped to carve with his beak.



A non-profit parrot lovers group is looking to raise awareness about the birds while increasing its membership.

On top of educating, Friends for Ethical Avian Treatment, finding Homes, sharing Education, Resources and Support (FEATHERS), which was formed 10 years ago, also seeks to care for and home displaced parrots, according to Laurie Rex, president of the group. It goes by the “don’t shop, adopt” philosophy.

“Originally, I had a couple of cockatoos of my own and people started giving them to me and I realized there was no way I could never meet the need my own self in my own home, so we formed FEATHERS to teach people about how to care for these birds and to potentially develop new homes for birds to go to,” said Rex.

The group charges members a fee of $20 but does not charge people who adopt or relinquish birds. There are prerequisites for those wanting to adopt however, including the attendance of at least three group functions and the signing of an agreement, in which the adopter promises to provide proper care.

Besides ensuring the birds are properly fed, there are a lot of other things that prospective owners must take into consideration before taking on parrots as pets – they’re messy, noisy and can be financially draining. Owners could be dropping $300 the minute they walk in the door of a specialized veterinarian, according to the president.

“Most vets either cannot or will not treat birds, so you have to find a vet with a speciality in avian medicine and it’s expensive because the thing with birds is they hide their illnesses because they’re prey animals, so often by the time you know they’re sick, they’re very sick and in many cases, they cannot survive it,” Rex said.

Despite the care and attention required, it can be gratifying, said Diana Slater, member and spokeswoman.

“They’re a lot of fun to be around,” Slater said. “I have a passion for it now and they add a dimension to your life that enhances it beyond words but you have to have a tolerance for noise and mess.”

The group meets once a month at St. Anne St. Edmund Anglican Church in Parksville.

For more information, please go to www.feathersinbc.com.

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