The Past, Present, and Future of Hurlin’s Parrot Rescue I found my passion for parrots at age 18 when I adopted a Green-cheeked Conure — and soon after, a Timneh African grey. These two birds opened my eyes to the world of parrot rescue and made me realize the extreme need for this exhausting but rewarding work. For those of you who don’t already know, they are the top third throw away pet, trailing right behind cats and dogs, and these captive parrots are in a dire situation due to their wild natures and long lifespans — the captive numbers are so large that they are already being euthanized in shelters.
I have rescued, rehabilitated and adopted out birds in need since 2004, and in 2011 I met a man who shares my love for parrots — in 2013 we were married. Soon after, we decided to make our dream a reality, and in June 2013, with much moral support from my husband’s uncle, Marc Johnson of Foster Parrots Ltd., we became public and made a name for ourselves under Hurlin’s Parrot Rescue. At that time we had only 4 birds, but the numbers quickly grew with our highest number growing to 30 within our first year, and this isn’t including the other 30 or so parrots that we were able to place into loving homes. We accomplished a lot in our first year, including saving the lives of several birds, educating the public on parrot ownership, obtaining our 501c3 nonprofit status, writing several articles pertaining to parrot ownership and rescue, building an immaculate and fun bird room and a separate proper quarantine room inside our home, planting a 30-by-30 foot garden to help feed our birds, and building a 20-by-10 foot outdoor aviary so the birds get some sunshine during the summer months — WHEW! Within our first year we were also featured on the front page of the Record Eagle (local) newspaper along with three other publications: Pet Friends Magazine, Community Health magazine, and Morning Star Publishing. We managed all of this alongside our full-time jobs that financially support our rescue mission. Rescuing these animals is what we live for; it’s what we spend every waking moment thinking about.
Spending everyday thinking about the rescue and all of the homeless parrots in need leads to many future plans. Currently the maximum amount of parrots we can take in at one time is approximately 30; this is due to space, funding and time limitations. It is very important to us to keep the numbers in our rescue at a manageable amount so everyone gets the care and individual love and attention that they need — managing a rescue any other way would be completely unfair to the parrots involved. We have future plans to expand on our home to allow for more space and flight room along with a second outdoor aviary, and while planning an expansion it only makes sense to reach out for volunteers. I have been reaching out to local people that want to get involved, inviting them to volunteer with cleaning, making food and toys, and socializing with the parrots. Since we try to keep our numbers low, we have to turn a lot of parrots away — something that breaks my heart every time. This inspired me to establish a state-wide foster-family program and reach out to other people across the state of Michigan (and surrounding states) for help. This is a very important step for us to take; the problem of displaced parrots is only growing larger, and we need all of the help that we can get. While we are striving to accomplish everything mentioned above, we are also trying to set scheduled time aside to do public presentations at locations such as the local libraries to educate the public about parrot care and the plight of the captive parrots.
The younger generations are the future, and the more we can reach the brighter the future will be. Who knows what the future may bring for Hurlin’s Parrot Rescue; we strive to make a difference in the world one step at a time, and when I look back at what we accomplished in just our first year I can’t help but be amazed. If the need arises, which my gut-feeling says it will, it is a possibility that we could expand into a larger facility and hire paid volunteers in an attempt to keep up with the need for displaced parrot housing and care — we are willing to go that far, and if we put our minds together we can do anything. The sky is our limit, and our passion for this mission runs higher than the sky.