An estimated 160 birds were found in deceased owner’s home

Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 10:48 PM CDT
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OKALOOSA COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - It’s not every day you hear about a massive bird rescue being carried out.

“There were birds living in the walls and that kind of stuff,” said Alaqua Animal Refuge Behavior and Enrichment Manager Ashley Englehart.

Police notified the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society about a large number of birds found in a home in Fort Walton Beach earlier this month.

PAWS later called in Alaqua Animal Refuge for help. Parakeets, cockatiels, love birds, cockatoos, and even an amazon parrot were found in the house.

“All of the parakeets were flying loose throughout the entire house,” Englehart said. “They were not in cages. So we came and we had our birds nests and things.”

Englehart said a number of birds in the home were found dead.

“Unfortunately the living conditions were really poor for a lot of these animals,” Englehart said.

Officials suspected the birds were left without food or water for four to five days. Englehart also said there were some eggs lying around.

“So what we found in the house was the gentleman actually had breeding boxes, and parakeets can kind of be like rabbits where they are gonna breed and breed and breed if they’re allowed to breed,” Englehart said.

“He was a hoarder of not just birds but in general,” Englehart said. “We did have magazines and that kind of stuff stacked to the ceiling that we were contending with along with all the birds.”

It wasn’t Alaqua’s first bird hoarding rescue, though.

“We are the only facility in the area that can assist in these types of situations,” Englehart said.

Staff at Alaqua are working to rehabilitate the 128 birds.

“They all just got their health checks done this past Saturday,” Englehart said. “We did a lot of beak trims, nail trims, kind of checking on some other things.”

She said the goal is to start the adoption process for the birds this Saturday.

People can find a bird adoption form here.

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