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Paradise Parrot Rescue expanding in Tucson to care for abandoned birds

The group is fundraising to open a new building on their property, so they can care for more exotic birds and help them get adopted.
Posted at 3:00 AM, Apr 17, 2024

TUCSON, Ariz. — On the west side of town a local rescue group is looking to expand, to be able to better meet a growing need in our community.

The Paradise Parrot Rescue takes in exotic birds, like parrots, toucans, macaws, and cockatiels, to give them a second chance, often when they outlive their owners.

In the four years they've been a nonprofit, they've helped thousands of birds get adopted.

The director and founder, Bryan Klontz, says aside from one bird he bought as a pet long before he started the rescue, all of the birds they have were given up by their owners. They have between 80 and 120 at a time, and between 15 and 20 are surrendered to them every month.

"The problem when you get pretty birds, is a lot of people want to adopt them. But they don't really understand the longevity of their life, or the level of care they need," Klontz said. "A lot of them live 60, 70, 80 years. So if you buy a baby bird and you're in your 50s, by the time you're 70, 75, that birds is in the prime of its life, and maybe as a human, you're not doing so well. So a lot of birds come from people that have medical issues or maybe they've even passed away, and then the children are like, 'I don't really want to take on that responsibility,' so they end up here at the rescue."

Sometimes the owners move and no longer have space. That's how the toucan, Skittles got here, when his owner got a divorce, and moved from a house to a small apartment.

"We've had a lot of birds come in recently, because of the economy. People can't take care of them financially. They can't pay for vet bills," he explained.

Other times, the birds are taken from a hoarding situation, or just bad living conditions, where they end up pulling out their feathers.

That changes, once they get to the rescue.

As Klontz walked Claire Graham into their room of bigger birds, a blue macaw named Vinnie quickly started saying "hi!" It was easy to see why people fall in love with these birds. Another white parrot, named Cordelia, took a liking to Claire, landing on her repeatedly. They quickly became friends.

"The bond that you can have with the bird, if it chooses you, is incredible," Klontz said. "Also to be able to have a pet that could really stay with you your entire lifespan, How cool is that?"

He says that possibility though, is also what leads to people often overlooking what it actually takes to care for an exotic bird.

"I mean we take these beautiful birds that fly in the sky and put them in little tiny cages, and it's just not the best way to take care of them," Klontz explained. "So we work a lot to educate our adopters on what's necessary to properly care for birds. We have to personally approve the caging, we want to see pictures or video of their home. We talk about dietary needs. We talk about grooming. Sometimes we actually talk people out of it, because we would rather the bird have the right home and the right fit, rather than just getting a bird out to be adopted."

A few of the parrots have also become permanent residents at the rescue, either because of behavioral issues or their health.

That level of care, is exactly why the rescue is trying to expand.

"We have not ever had to reject a bird in need at this point due to space requirements," Klontz said. "We're so dangerously close right now. Pretty much every single cage we have is full."

Klontz fortunately has 4 open acres on the property, where they've been working with a contractor to map out a plan for a brand new 2,400 square foot building. He says it's specially designed for birds, from the layout, to the flooring that will be easy to clean. They've even planned out a quarantine room with its own ventilation, to help keep the birds healthy.

"Just being able to have a facility where people can trust that we're going to do the right thing for the bird, and have a safe place for them to direct the bird, is invaluable, I think, to the community," Klontz said.

It's all part of his mission to help as many of these beautiful animals as possible.

"So if you're looking to adopt, get in contact with us," he said. "We'd love to see if you're a good fit for a home."

The Paradise Parrot Rescue relies on a big group of volunteers, so if you don't think you're ready for a 60 year commitment, but you love birds, volunteering is a great way to be around them.

The rescue has also been fundraising for a while to be able to build their new building. They're about halfway to their goal, so they just need the rest to make it happen.

If you'd like to help them expand their efforts, you can donate on their website.

For the month of April, they also have a donor who is matching all of the donations that come in.