A local bird club is working to find new homes for 300 cockatiels in Anchorage after their owner passed away.

The nonprofit Alaska Bird Club is working with the family of the owner to find new homes for every bird. The group's vice president Amber Morris says the club's mission is to help both birds and people.

"We help people learn about their birds. We kind of help the birds learn the people, too," Morris said. "I'd say we are enthusiasts. We just try to help other people be enthusiasts as well."

She said she was shocked when she saw the amount of birds. Usually, the group sees much smaller flocks, so they are learning as they go with these birds. However, this isn't the first time they've had to re-home orphaned birds after an owner passes away.

"Cockatiels probably [live] 20–25 years. My parents had one that went to 35. You know, you've gotta figure out if you're over 40, I say you have to have your birds in the will," Morris said. 

As the group learns, they are taking it one step at a time: starting with getting each bird checked by a veterinarian to make sure the animal doesn't have any diseases before it goes to a new home.

At the College Village Animal clinic, Morris took two of the three birds Wednesday to be examined. Working with birds is nothing new for the clinic's Dr. Jon Basler. He said they see about two to three birds a day at the clinic, where two veterinarians on staff treat birds. Basler estimated 10 percent of his patients are feathered friends.

"Some of them are cockatiels. And little guys, you're a little limited on what you can do," he said. "But a lot of bigger birds as well."

At the appointment the birds were weighed, their pulse was checked and they took samples for testing. Many of the birds looked to be in good health, but Dr. Basler said the birds brought in Wednesday could use a little more nutrition in their diet.

Since the club posted pictures of the birds on their Facebook page, people have been interested in adopting from the flock. Even while at the vet, Janet Bolvin gave Morris her name and number saying she wants to adopt one of the birds after hearing about the situation.

There isn't much information about the man who passed away. The club says it's a sensitive topic; the man took pride in the birds.

Morris says the hundreds of birds were kept in a special aviary room with branches in the man's house with nesting boxes inside. The bird club is working with family members to keep most of the birds in the aviary room as the group finds homes for a few birds at a time.

Laura Atwood with Anchorage Animal Care and Control said there is no law against having 300 birds in a residence. She said the city's animal licensing laws allow a household to keep up to four each of dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets and horses, or a combination of up to seven of those animals, without a special permit.

So far the group has collected 10 baby birds from the flock that need extra care. Morris has four of them in her home. She showed how they need to be fed by syringe.

 

 

Morris has one hope for all the birds who lost their owner.

"I hope they get into a good home with a good cage, lots of toys, some good food and lots of love," she said.

 

Anyone who would like to adopt a bird can contact the Alaska Bird Club or go to their Facebook page. The club is always looking for members to join, Morris said. Those interested can find more information on the group's website.

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