Brainy Birds – Parrot Training and Rescue facility: Extend your goodwill over the Christmas period and onward, by giving to an animal shelter in need. Hundreds of people in the animal rescue world work tirelessly behind the scenes, to save animals from horrendous conditions, in underfunded and gruelling circumstances. Today we spoke to Dee Hendrickx founder of the largest registered rescue NPO of exotic parrots in South Africa.
“I founded Brainy Birds Parrot rescue eight years ago with the goal of permanently homing disabled and abused parrots, rehabilitating the ones we can and rehoming them, but our main purpose is providing a place of safety for those who will unfortunately remain ‘sanctuary birds’ for the rest of their days.
“I realised as a young girl of 14 when I rescued my first parrot, a cockatiel, and had him with me for 15 years before he sadly passed away, that there was a lot more to owning a bird. Over the years, meeting bird owners, I realised there is a great need for education. After I retired from the corporate world I went into teaching people about parrot care, and decided there was a great need for a recognised and respected facility that provides a safe haven for these sentient, intelligent creatures, saving them from a life of abuse and neglect.
“I took the plunge and officially registered Brainy Birds. Since our humble beginnings, our organisation has grown, and we now care for and rehabilitate over 200 birds of all shapes and sizes, from the smallest budgie to the largest macaws and cockatoos. Many are special needs parrots.
“In recent years, apart from the rescues that come through our doors, we have seen an increase in the number of abandoned and surrendered parrots – often people are either unable to continue to care for their feathered companions due to financial pressures or the bird’s beloved companion has passed away and the family is unable to take care of the bird. While we are grateful we can provide a place of safety with the appropriate care, this increased intake obviously puts a tremendous strain on our finances.
“Our successes over the years, apart from acquiring a property to house the sanctuary, obtaining more houses to home our indoor birds and rehabilitating as well as happily rehoming approximately 1 000 birds, include the construction and completion of a large free flight aviary. With all these developments and additions our sanctuary has grown into one we are tremendously proud of.
“We are constantly expanding and our costs increase dramatically with the yearly influx of new rescues. We need to build more huge flight aviaries and acquire more log cabins, to keep our plucked and special needs rescue birds safe and warm. We have four permanent staff members who maintain our vegetable garden, upkeep grounds and clean the various big flight aviaries and the inside of the five huge log cabins.
“Our 10 volunteers on an on-off basis, maintain and socialise the birds, and watch them while they roam about freely outside, make fresh and cooked food for them daily, clean the cages regularly and wash the birds dishes out daily – about 400 dishes at a time. I am the only one doing fundraising and don’t get around to doing what I should do at the sanctuary the rehabilitation of a lot of rescue birds.
“We do have a wish list we put up monthly of the little things we need, ie. coffee, sugar, loo paper, hand paper towels, dish liquids and disinfectants, brooms, small hand brushes, white vinegar, long step ladders, etc. This we get from our clients who see it on our media pages.
“Our rescue work mainly runs in the Gauteng and surrounding areas but through various sources like vets, the SPCA and private people we get rescues in from all over South Africa. We are the only and biggest registered NPO dealing with real rescues – exotic birds.
“Our monthly running cost include, but are not limited to the following:
- Property Rental
- Daily Running Costs (gas, groceries, etc)
- Staff Salaries – 4 permanent staff members
- Grounds Maintenance
- Petrol – for our generators and maintenance equipment
- Trailer Rental
- Veterinary Bills – a huge expense – Vitamins and medications
- Fresh Produce, pellets and healthy Nuts – Birds cannot live healthy on seeds alone.
How You Can Help
* Our most pressing need is the running costs between R40 000 and R50 000 per month, depending on our vet bills which are very big, and a few other emergency costs.
*Our sanctuary is functional on solar power and totally of the grid – we need to expand the system more solar panels and associated equipment is needed.
*Petrol operated Lawnmower and Weed eater.
*2 X Log/Wood cabins 3 X 7m for the growing number of birds coming in.
*Large Trailer required for regular use of fetching big cages and carting rubble away.
*We need to build more big flight aviaries to give these birds the freedom they deserve and build more Log Cabins for the disabled and featherless birds
*At present we have no cooling facility to store our fresh produce – A gas fridge is much needed.
Contact Dee Hendrickx on 079 426 5572.
For more info to Brainy Birds Parrot Training And Rescue