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East County Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019 5 months ago

East County parrot sanctuary could be rescued

If deal closes on the rescue's current property, Birds of Paradise will remain open.
by: Liz Ramos Staff Writer

It appears Birds of Paradise Sanctuary and Rescue has been rescued.

Debbie Huckaby, the executive director of Birds of Paradise Sanctuary and Rescue, said she has an agreement in place that if a contract to buy the land her rescue sits on closes, she will remain at 17020 Water Line Road.

Cindy and Kerry Gordon own the property, and Cindy Gordon confirmed that the sale of the property is expected to close Jan. 15. The buyer and the details of the sale have not been made public.

Huckaby said the new owner has agreed to a 10-year lease for the rescue.

“This is like a dream come true,” Huckaby said. “The birds get to keep their home, and we get to help more birds in the area. It’s a fantastic opportunity for all of us.”

Huckaby said the rescue’s program will “stay exactly as it was” if the current deal closes.

Birds of Paradise would have had to vacate the property by March 5 if Huckaby couldn’t find a buyer for the property willing to lease the parcel to her.

“Our main focus has been getting this property under contract and getting closed with the buyer and the birds getting to keep their home,” Huckaby said. “We want to continue to operate and help the birds in Manatee and Sarasota counties as well as throughout the U.S. the way we have been for the past eight years.”

Gordon purchased the Water Line Road property five years ago to provide Huckaby a location for Birds of Paradise to move when it was forced to leave its home in Palmetto.

Gordon previously said the couple hoped Birds of Paradise could purchase the land at the end of the lease term and was willing to sell to the rescue or another individual wishing to buy the property for the rescue to use.

“We are very happy that [Huckaby] has found a buyer that will allow her to stay on the property for years to come,” Gordon said. “We’re very happy for her and the birds.”

After the contract closes, Birds of Paradise will kick off a campaign for toy and food donations for the rescue’s more than 350 birds.

During its Giving Tuesday campaign, Birds of Paradise raised about $1,300, according to Debbie’s GivingTuesday Fundraiser on Facebook.

Birds of Paradise will also have a volunteer responsible for writing grants and assisting with fundraising and operations.

Huckaby said the rescue is looking to expand its educational programming and is always looking for more volunteers.

“The biggest challenge is people don’t understand the complexities of these creatures, and their expectations are one thing, but when they get the bird home, it’s a totally different scenario, which means they’re frustrated, and it’s frustrating for the animal as well,” Huckaby said. “Education is key for providing a happy home for any rescued animal.”

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