127 birds rescued from their Florida home after their owner died


Rescuers rescued about 127 free-flying birds from a home after the owner died, Florida animal groups said.

Panhandle Humane Society

Animal rescuers rescued about 127 cockatiels, parrots and other free-flying birds from a home after the owner died, according to Florida rescue groups.

Rescuers and animal control officers attended the Fort Walton Beach home on June 16 in response to a call from the local police department, Michelle Thorson, spokesperson for the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society, told McClatchy News.

Thorson said the owner had been deceased for some time and the birds, most of which were out of their cages, needed food, water and medical attention.

“We knew how extreme the situation was and we knew we had to get them out as soon as possible,” she said.

Fort Walton Beach is about 164 miles west of Tallahassee.

Most of the birds appeared to be fine, but some had missing legs or tails and others were plucking their feathers due to stress, she said. Some birds had bred.

“There were quite a few baby birds in the walls,” she said. “We had to tear down the walls to get them out as well.”

Rescuers took the birds to Alaqua Animal Refuge, a wildlife rehabilitation center in Freeport, for treatment.

Laurie Hood, the shelter’s founder, told McClatchy News most of the birds are doing well and 120 will soon be available for adoption.

A cockatoo has kidney problems and will be staying at the shelter’s bird sanctuary, she said. A few others have had medical complications, and the one missing their feet may need to be euthanized. Shelter staff also care for about three baby birds that need to be fed around the clock.

“The good news is that the majority of birds are gaining weight and looking quite healthy,” she said.

Birds can make great pets, Hood said, but she recommended anyone looking to get one do their research.

“Some birds are wonderful to have around the house,” she said. “Many of these parakeets are perfect pets.”

But larger birds, like African grays and scarlet macaws, require a lot of attention.

“I think people underestimate the care they need,” she said. “They are very, very needy animals.”

For new bird owners, Hood said she recommends starting small.

Madeleine List is a McClatchy National Real-Time reporter. She has reported for the Cape Cod Times and the Providence Journal.

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