5 min read

These Rescued Parrots Just Got The Sweetest Surprise

"The birds are going to be so happy!"

Parrots are very smart - and because of that, they need a lot of stimulation; otherwise they get bored and anxious. They can even turn on themselves, plucking out their own feathers in angst.

So when money set aside for toys - for the 52 parrots and other exotic birds who consider Tallgrass Parrot Sanctuary, in Lecompton, Kansas, home - was stolen in a scam, Kail Marie, founder of the sanctuary, was heartbroken. After all, she's made it her life's mission to give these birds the best lives possible.

That means that Marie, who literally lives with the birds - as well as some rescue tortoises, pigs and other pets - has an almost constant need for parrot toys to keep the rescued flock entertained. Especially since the sanctuary birds often come from neglectful homes or from owners who - for one reason or another - couldn't take care of them anymore. (One such bird was Javi, with whom The Dodo fell in love).

"We ordered toys from an individual and he never sent us the toys," Marie told The Dodo. "We are still working to get that money back."

But the birds were still waiting for their much-needed entertainment.

Then, suddenly, boxes of toys Marie didn't order started to arrive.

"They kept showing up. Box after box! I did not know what was going on," Marie said.

It turns out that Jill Casteel, an artist and friend of Marie's, told a special group about what happened - Parrot Posse stepped in to help.

The Parrot Posse, a loosely organized Facebook group, brings together everyone who wants to help rescued birds however they can. They started out small and now they have over 3,000 members. "In almost 20 years online, we have learned that by working together and combining small donations, we can make a big difference," the group says.

Tallgrass Parrot Sanctuary

"Not only did Parrot Posse send toys, but individuals who are on their Facebook page started sending toys," Marie said. "A lot of the toys were from anonymous people."

Over the past few years, Parrot Posse has raised over $175,000, mostly in small donations, for captive parrots who need it. The group has also donated $350,000 worth of toys, food and other supplies, as well as veterinary care.

Tallgrass Parrot Sanctuary

"When we hear of a problem we think we can help, we investigate it further: We do not just jump onboard every time we hear a sad story, because there are fakes and frauds out there, and need will always exceed our ability to help," the group says. "By working together, we are able to make far more of a difference than when we stand alone."

And that difference really matters for the birds rescued from neglect.

"The birds are going to be so happy!" Marie said.

To send the birds the toys they want, click here.