Photo by Hubble Ray Smith.
KINGMAN – With ear-piercing screeching and shrieking coming from some 80 macaws, cockatiels and Amazon parrots, there’s no sneaking up on Earl and Kathie Engelhardt’s rural home a bird squawk away from Love’s Truck Stop.
It starts with dogs barking and builds into a deafening crescendo of bird calls.
The birds are caged in just about every corner of every room of the 2,800-square-foot home that the Engelhardts turned into Bird Haven Rescue and Sanctuary in 2009.
People may think they’re crazy for putting up with the screaming birds, but it was truly a “calling,” Kathie said.
“Because they need us,” she said. “They are the best thing that ever happened to me.”
The couple is hoping to find safe and loving “forever” homes for about 30 birds, mostly parakeets and cockatoos, when they hold a two-day adoption event from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Feathered Friends, 2945 Airway Ave.
Kazoo, one of the birds up for adoption, is an Alexandrine parrot found on a dirt road in Golden Valley.
It’s the second time they’ve offered birds for public adoption, which they use to raise money for their nonprofit business that spends every dime on feeding and caring for the birds, Earl said.
Adoption fees run from $10 to $15 for a parakeet to $45 for a cockatoo and $600 for a macaw, which is about one-third the cost of buying the bird at a retail store, Kathie said. The macaws come with their own cage, saving another $700 to $800.
Feathered Friends owner Carol Vine is discounting all merchandise by 20 percent on adoption days, with a portion of those sales going to Bird Haven. Food alone at the sanctuary runs about $400 a month. Other expenses include utilities, veterinary care, cages and toys.
Most of the birds came to the sanctuary because their owners were no longer able to care for them for whatever reason. Some were rescued from unhealthy conditions.
Bird Haven will take any bird that needs a new home, excluding wild birds. The Engelhardts do not pay for any birds, and owners must sign a voluntary release form.
Some people purchase birds as novelties, which unfortunately can be a short-lived experience. Birds require a lot of work and attention, and they can be messy and noisy. Sometimes they have behavioral issues such as biting.
“You can tell when they’re going to bite, when they get excited,” Earl said, showing a scar on his hand from a past bite.
An owner of two Panagonians in Las Vegas didn’t want to give the birds to a rescue there for fear they’d be adopted by someone who would separate them. The female is blind.
“The male takes care of her,” Kathie Engelhardt said. “It took a while for him to get used to us and come out his cage.”
The Engelhardts go to schools, Girl Scout meetings and public events to teach people how to choose birds, how to care for and feed birds, and what to expect from them as pets.
They love attention and can be extremely affectionate, as shown by Sergeant, a military macaw who cuddles up with Kathie.
“He loves her to death, and he can’t stand me,” Earl said.
It’s a lifetime commitment to adopt a bird. Some of them can live a couple generations, and one of the parrots at Bird Haven is over 50 years old.
That’s why nobody’s going to walk away from Feathered Friends with an adopted macaw or cockatiel.
“We require a few visits here to allow them to socialize and get to know each other,” Earl said. “We go to the home and check it out. Part of the reason we get them back is they don’t like my wife, or they don’t like my kids. It’s not like going and buying a bird where they’re just selling and don’t really care where they’re going.”