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Free Flight Exotic Bird Sanctuary

It is no secret that we Chus are bird-people. We have two small parrots in our household, and are sometimes tempted to add a third..Oh, nevermind–just Tiffany. Sometimes we visit different bird stores just to interact with other parrots [and almost always walk out with some new toy or treat to spoil our own birdies with..]. So of course when we discovered that a bird sanctuary existed right here in San Diego, we had to pay it a visit.

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Free Flight Exotic Bird Sanctuary
2132 Jimmy Durante Blvd
Del Mar, CA 92014
(858) 481-3148

"Hi Casper!" This super friendly cockatoo has to wear a vest to keep her from plucking out her feathers.

“Hi Casper!” This super friendly cockatoo has to wear a vest to keep her from plucking out her feathers.

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Just as the pet trade for dogs and cats is becoming saturated, resulting in countless animals being abandoned at shelters, exotic birds being over-bred is also becoming a significant problem. As I have expressed before, owning a bird always requires more effort, energy, and time than most people realize. Beautiful they may be, but as bird-parents know, that lovely plumage quickly becomes old after the obnoxious screaming, temperamental attitudes, and perpetual mess take over.

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Parrot rescues seem to be becoming a growing necessity for all the unwanted birds suffering as a result of owners failing to thoroughly consider all the implications of bringing one of these deeply emotionally sensitive animals home. However, at Free Flight, many birds have found a new home, where they can enjoy fresh air outside, and interact with many different people in a single day. Some birds are available for adoption, and the program puts prospective adopters through an extensive screening process, in addition to scheduling multiple visits to bond with the bird.

So sweet and snuggly

So sweet and snuggly

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This silly bird [above] took us on an adventure. He pretended to be sweet and mellow in his cage..until we let him out, and he ran wild, leading us on a goose chase halfway through the sanctuary before we could pick him up and put him back.

The parrots at the sanctuary hang out outside on perches, waiting for visitors to walk up and hang out with them. For your first visit, the volunteers will happily show you around and give some basic tips for interacting with the birds. Each personality is unique, which is a delight to discover as you walk around, getting to know the different feathered residents. Although it’s a small place, we easily spend up to an hour here.

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"Scratch me please!"

“Scratch me please!”

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There are many reasons why owners choose to leave their birds at sanctuaries like Free Flight. Sometimes life happens, and these reasons are out of their control. I imagine it’s never easy to make such a decision. In an ideal world, animal shelters wouldn’t have to exist. However, at least for birds like these, Free Flight gives them another chance at happiness.

Tips:

  • Parking is along the chain link fence surrounding the sanctuary. It’s quite a squeeze, so drive slowly!
  • Remember that parrots are still wild animals, and many will bite if provoked. The volunteers can help you read their body language to try to avoid a nipping.
  • The birds in cages can be taken out, as long as it doesn’t have a padlock on it.
  • You can pay a small fee to feed the birds or koi fish.

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