A mass parrot relocation has refuge workers in Metro Vancouver struggling to keep up with the new influx of birds.
Workers at the Greyhaven Bird Sanctuary say they are overwhelmed after taking on the "daunting task" of caring for more than 500 exotic birds, including parrots, cockatoos and amazons.
The birds were relocated from the now-defunct World Parrot Refuge after its owner passed away earlier this year.
Staff at Greyhaven are working around the clock to provide care for the birds. Among them is adoptions director Jenny Tamas, whose home is being used as a sanctuary, alongside two other houses in Metro Vancouver.
They also run a shelter inside an old SPCA building in Nanaimo.
"It's a desperate situation for a lot of these birds," Tamas said. "I just personally picked up four bags of feed which was $181 wholesale. And ... those four bags of feed will not feed these birds for more than two days."
One of the makeshift shelters runs out of a rental house in Maple Ridge. Inside, dozens of cages flood the living room and bedrooms. Volunteers come in regularly to clean the cages and feed the 130 exotic birds living there.
Tamas said before the relocation, Greyhaven only cared for 60 birds.
"It took a lot of planning and a lot of people in place to be able to find locations that we can be at," said Tamas, adding that the rescue costs over $20,000 a month, not including veterinary care. She says the organization is desperately in need of donations and volunteers to keep their operations moving.
The birds are all orphans from the World Parrot Refuge, a sanctuary on Vancouver Island whose owner, Wendy Huntbach, passed away in February.
With no proper succession plan in place, and orders from the SPCA that the animals receive veterinary care because of their living conditions, Greyhaven stepped in to provide shelter.
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Tamas says it's one of the largest animals relocations in Canadian history.
"I don't think there's ever been 586 breathing beings that have been in such dire straights as these," she said.
Greyhaven now faces the task of finding new homes for each of the exotic birds, many of which are distressed and losing their feathers.
"We're trying to find loving homes that people will take them in and help some of them rehabilitate," she said, adding that they will try to match birds with their new owner's personality.
Tamas understands that taking on a parrot can be quite a commitment — many of them live up to 80 years — but she says it's worth it.
"You're not going to get a better companion than a feathered companion," Tamas said.
She says anyone who wants to volunteer, donate or adopt a bird should visit the Greyhaven website.
With files from Rafferty Baker