There's been a "huge" public response to the plight of hundreds of exotic birds at a Vancouver Island parrot refuge that's run out of money, says a volunteer helping with the rescue process.

"So far, we're having a challenge dealing with all the offers," said John Creviston, a former Calgary zookeeper and a volunteer at the Greyhaven Bird Sanctuary in Vancouver.  

Greyhaven has stepped in to try to raise money and find homes for the birds at the World Parrot Refuge in Coombs, B.C. 

Creviston characterized the situation at the refuge as a 'parrot disaster', with up to 600 abandoned or surrendered birds suddenly in need of new homes.

Hand bird

The World Parrot Refuge was a home for abandoned or surrendered exotic birds, but in February the owner died. (Chris Corday/CBC)

Bird face

The group helping organize new homes for the birds says the larger ones could be the most difficult to place. (Chris Corday/CBC)

John Creviston

Former zookeeper John Creviston is part of a group trying to fundraise and find new homes for hundreds of the birds. (Chris Corday/CBC)

No succession plan for refuge

The owner of the refuge, Wendy Huntbatch, died in February without a succession plan for the facility or leaving enough money to keep it operating.

On Friday, CBC News reported the landlord, who is Huntbatch's widower, has given the facility until August 1 to wind up operations and find new homes for the birds.

Overwhelmed by the sheer number of birds and a tiny budget to pay staff to care for them, Creviston says many of the parrots are stressed. 

Some may have been treated poorly even before they arrived at the refuge and have issues with self-mutilation, but Creviston says even those birds may yet find homes. 

Red bird

John Creviston says what started as a well-meaning enterprise at the World Parrot Refuge resulted in a "parrot hoarding situation." (Chris Corday/CBC)


At one time, the World Parrot Refuge in Coombs was home to about 900 birds, but the owner died of cancer this past winter. (Chris Corday/CBC)


A number of different types of birds are looking for homes, including mackaws, cockatoos, and budgies. (Chris Corday/CBC)

Contact information for potential adopters

"There are a number of people with experience who are prepared to take the stressed birds," said Creviston, who's meeting with the SPCA in Vancouver today to try to sort out the logistics of the mass adoption.

He said anyone who wants to donate money or adopt a bird can email and put the words 'adopt' or 'donate' in the subject line.


Many of the birds are friendly and sociable and love being close to people, and even cameras. (Chris Corday/CBC)


Some have issues with self-mutilation, but Creviston is hopeful even they will find homes. (Chris Corday/CBC)

Bird side

John Creviston says a number of people with experience are prepared to take the most severerely stressed birds. (Chris Corday/CBC)


Parrots can live up to 80 years, meaning many of the birds in Coombs may have outlived their original owners. (Chris Corday/CBC)