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Edmonton-area bird rescue group desperate for new space

Click to play video: 'Edmonton-area bird rescue Meika’s Safehouse desperate for new space'
Edmonton-area bird rescue Meika’s Safehouse desperate for new space
Meika's Safehouse in Sherwood Park is in desperate need of a new home after renovations caused the charity to outgrow its current space. Sarah Ryan reports – Jan 13, 2024

An Edmonton-area bird rehabilitation centre is in desperate need of a new home after renovations caused the registered charity to outgrow its current space.

Meika’s Safehouse, in Sherwood Park, Alta., rehabilitates and provides a safe and loving environment for birds that have been rescued, surrendered or taken in by other groups. The organization primarily houses parrots, but takes in all species in need.

The building Meika’s Safehouse currently uses underwent renovations that shrunk the size of its space. While renovations were underway, the organization had to quickly rehome upwards of 100 birds.

“Luckily we’ve had a lot of people step up to give us a hand with taking birds and taking them into their homes for temporary housing,” said Ian Sprage, part owner of Meika’s Safehouse.

Meika’s Safehouse, in Sherwood Park, Alta., rehabilitates and provides a safe and loving environment for birds that have been rescued, surrendered or taken in by other groups. Sarah Ryan, Global News

Tasha Smith is one of the people who took in some of the animals – 17 birds to be exact – on an emergency basis.

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“I offered to extend a helping hand because I knew I had the room and they’ve always been there to help me when I needed help with my own birds,” she said.

“It’s definitely a little noisier in the house, a lot more seed on the floor. But I think it’s going really, really good – better than I expected.”

The foster homes are only a temporary solution.

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The owners of Meika’s Safehouse also operate a retail store called Meika’s Birdhouse, where some of the animals have been placed for the time being. But Sprage said they simply can’t carry on this way for long.

“We just need more space. We can’t accommodate everything we need to do with the spaces we have,” he said.

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Meika’s Safehouse, in Sherwood Park, Alta., rehabilitates and provides a safe and loving environment for birds that have been rescued, surrendered or taken in by other groups. Sarah Ryan, Global News

Caring for this number of birds takes a lot of space.

In the first 10 days of 2024, Meika’s Safehouse took in 10 large birds. The organization was forced to turn away 17 budgie surrenders.

“We want to help as many birds as we can, but right now with six flight cages full of budgies, we just can’t take in anymore. We have to get them adopted before we can help anybody else.”

The new building would need running water, heat and separate spaces to keep all of the different species apart. Many of the birds come into the safehouse with medical issues and they stay for months before they can be adopted out.

“These are super intelligent animals that need a lot of interaction, a lot of enrichment to keep their little brains going, and just a lot of patience,” Sprage said.

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“In a perfect world, it would be a standalone building around 6,000 to 7,000 square feet, but honestly that’s a pretty big ask,” Sprage said. “As long as we have at least – just for housing the parrots — 3,000 square feet for that and then some additional space for storing their supplies, storing cages, a work area for the staff.”

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Ideally, Sprage would like to stay in Sherwood Park, but realizes that may not be possible. He’s hoping to get the new space up and running as fast as possible.

“Right now we’re living in a ‘what if’ world … It’s hard to predict what tomorrow will bring,” he said. “If anybody has some large buildings that are looking for tenants, please get ahold of us.

“Not looking for a freebie, we’re just looking for more space.”

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With files from Sarah Ryan, Global News.

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