During the week of August 21, 2017, the birds housed at the Gulf Coast Exotic Bird Sanctuary near Houston, Texas knew something was going to happen. The barometric pressure was changing as a hurricane named Harvey strengthened and moved toward the Texas Coast.
Director Jill Donaho her helper Colin activated a plan to move the birds from harm’s way. The birds were anxious. Jill listened carefully to the forecast as it tracked Hurricane Harvey. The hurricane was gaining strength, and she knew the birds would have to be moved. She had located a storage unit where the birds would be safe. The team had stored plenty of food and water to last several days. They moved 63 parrots, some chickens, the watch dogs and Ivan the peacock.
On Friday, August 25, 2017 at 10:00 PM, Harvey made landfall when the eye of the hurricane hit the Texas coast between Port O’Connor and Port Aransas just off the coast near Corpus Christi. As it continued to move northeast up the Texas coast, the hurricane centered inland and moved over land. It dumped phenomenal amounts of rainfall in its path. Low lying areas flooded. The metropolitan area of Houston suffered catastrophic flooding.
The Gulf Coast Exotic Bird Sanctuary flooded. Water was waist deep in some areas and knee deep in others. When the water receded, mud and debris were left behind in the cages and walkways. Most of the supplies and tools at the sanctuary were lost. Jill and the GCEBS team were awe struck at the sight when they were finally able to get to the sanctuary. There was lots of work to be done before the birds could come home.
Word quickly spread to bird lovers all over the world via Twitter and Facebook posts. Donations of food and supplies began to arrive almost immediately at the storage unit and the sanctuary. The greatest need was the cleanup and restoration of the sanctuary. Volunteers worked long hours raking, shoveling and rebuilding. The birds needed to return home and they did return about a week after the storm. Sadly, Ivan the peacock died. Donations began to pour in. GCEBS is grateful for all donations, thoughts, prayers and support. Here are some of the donations.
Relief supplies for our feathered friends. 3 pallets of feed arrived from ZuPreem. #zupreem
More feed from Terry Moore in Delaware, John Tarkington in New Jersey, Parrot Posse #parrotposse in South Carolina, My Safe Bird Store in New Jersey and the American Federation of Aviculture (AFA) among others. Prestige Storage, Lafebers, Christine’s Chop Shop, Adventures in Birds, Bonka Bird Toys.
New sand to replace the flooded aviary substrate from Wings of Love. #WingsofLove
Ronies for the Love of Birds in Utah food, water and supplies
The weather, the move and the state of their homes created lots of stress for the birds. The sanctuary vet recommended additional nutrition to boost immune systems. Healthy seeds and avian probios are now added to supplement their diets and water. The birds are closely monitored for weight loss and signs of stress.
Clean up and repairs continue and will continue for weeks to come. There is still a need for supplies, volunteers, and donations. View the GCEBS wish list Amazon to see what supplies they need for the birds.
September 29, 2017-33 days ago, Hurricane Harvey hit. 33 days later GCEBC has regained food and water. Habitat roofs and doors are repaired, wet bedding removed and replaced with clean sand. Much of Gulf Coast Exotic Bird Sanctuary (GCEBS) is restored. Next, they need to restore the inside bird area, so inside birds can return to their permanent homes. GCEBS must permanently organize supply storage rooms and pick up and dispose of scattered trash and debris in that area. In the initial cleanup GCEBS cleaned, repaired, and removed anything that might be dangerous for the birds. Temporary measures for safety were initiated.
Things will never be the same; there are many problems yet unaddressed. GCEBS needs volunteers to handle the daily feeding and watering of the residents so the staff can do the final cleanup and reorganization of supplies, etc. They need 3 volunteers per day on Monday through Saturday and Sunday mornings from 8am to 11am. Although much is finished, there is much left to do. With volunteers feeding and watering they hope to have most of the restoration completed by November 1, in time for the holiday season. -edited From Facebook page
Gulf Coast Exotic Bird Sanctuary is a 501(c)3 registered non-profit that provides permanent refuge and medical care for exotic birds and other exotic animals that are rescued by humane organizations, displaced by natural disasters, handicapped, aggressive, retired breeders, owners passed away or whose previous owners would like them to live out their lives in a sanctuary environment by sponsoring them.at are rescued by humane organizations, displaced by natural disasters, handicapped, aggressive, retired breeders, owners passed away or whose previous owners would like them to live out their lives in a sanctuary environment by sponsoring them.