The 2019 Ridge Meadows Home Show is going to the birds.
Greyhaven, an exotic bird sanctuary, will have some up for adoption on display at this year’s Home Show, May 3-5 at Planet Ice and the Albion Fairgrounds on Jim Robson Way, Maple Ridge.
Greyhaven is a volunteer-run, non-profit society. Its purpose is to provide rescue and protection for parrots.
Through its adoption program, Greyhaven strives to place parrots in loving homes, providing education and support to parrot guardians and the general public.
The society opposes the breeding and selling of parrots through pet stores, bird marts or via the Internet.
Attending events such as the Home Show is part of how Greyhaven promotes avian welfare and awareness in the community, in addition to educational seminars and other presentations.
Cass Winder, executive director of the Home Show, said the event often hosts groups that are involved in animal welfare and conservation.
“The story of these beautiful birds is heart-wrenching,” she said.
“When the long-time operator of the World Parrot Refuge on Vancouver Island passed away, there were hundreds of birds left homeless. The facility itself was amazing, with two huge free-flying rooms allowing the birds to fly among huge trees, form bonds and interact with each other. It was also hugely expensive to operate and was forced to close. Greyhaven was one of the agencies that stepped up to help, so we decided that we would step up to help them.”
Winder said the Home Show will see several thousand youngsters visit the The News Family Festival area, which will host the exotic birds.
“Not only will they get to see some of nature’s most colourful and beautiful creatures, they’ll get some first-hand education about the reality of owning an exotic bird.”
Winder said people are often captivated by the idea of having an exotic bird as a pet and order them online or from a breeder without realizing they have specific care demands, adding they can be loud and messy.
“This combination often proves too much to handle and owners ultimately surrender them. Or they pass away and their birds live on.”
Greyhaven currently has about 100 birds at two locations in South Delta.
Gina Visentin, community events co-ordinator with Greyhaven, will be at the Home Show with Harley, an umbrella cockatoo.
For a donation, Visentin said, he will climb up your arm, nuzzle your neck, “and let you hug him.”
She will bring a few other birds, too, as the organization seeks to raise money and awareness.
It needs people to adopt birds, as well as donations and more volunteers. Greyhaven relies solely on donations and fundraising to cover the costs of caring for the birds, from medical expenses, food, cages, toys and essential equipment are ongoing expenses.
As Visentin will explain at the Home Show, adopting a parrot is a lifestyle change.
“Cooking with a Teflon pan can kill them,” she said.
Parrots live 50-plus years and adopting one is a long-term commitment, she added.
Visentin said it takes a special person to own one of the birds, but worth it.
“They are like a family member.”
For the Home Show, hosting the exotic birds offers visitors a little variety.
“That’s why we attract such a broad cross-section of people,” Winder added. “Because our show is produced by a non-profit society, we’re not here to make a profit, we’re here to support business and create the very best community event we can create.”
• Anyone interested in adoption can get information at greyhaven.bc.ca or by calling 604-878-7212.