High Contrast Mode:


Avian rescue and refuge provide safe haven for feathered friends

Written By: Team CMC

A hidden gem thrives in Harlem, GA, although many locals pass by unaware of its impact. Feathered Friends Forever, a dedicated avian rescue and refuge, transformed the lives of parrots and other companion birds for more than two decades.

Founder Ron Johnson found himself in a tough situation when he was drafted into the Army during the Vietnam War: He had parrots that he wouldn't be able to take care of anymore. While serving in the military, Ron decided he wanted to make sure other people in a similar situation had a solution. In 1997 he started Feathered Friends Forever out of his home with minimal help.

Fast forward 27 years and Feathered Friends Forever operates on a 13-acre property that has housed up to 1,400 birds at one time and is operated entirely by volunteers. Today, five of the birds housed there are for deployed military. The non-profit also offers adoption, relinquishment, boarding, and permanent placement services, along with public education on avian welfare.

"Raising awareness of what it takes to have a parrot is crucial in preventing neglect and abuse for these birds," says Danielle Johnson, sister-in-law of Ron Johnson and volunteer of 15 years. "These birds are life-long companions that can live into their 80s, so it's important to understand the commitment."

Much to the displeasure of Danielle, who had always been terrified of birds, her daughter was interested in adopting a parrot. This led them to research bird rescues and sanctuaries within a day's trip of their home in Columbia, SC. They stumbled upon Feathered Friends Forever and when she showed the website to her husband, she couldn't have been more surprised to hear him say, "That's my brother" — a brother he hadn't spoken to in 20 years.

Now 15 years later, Danielle has conquered her fear of birds and the two brothers see each other almost every day.

The property includes the Special Needs Pavilion, Outdoor Aviaries, Honey Bee House, Bio Pond, and a Butterfly Garden, each contributing to an environment fit for its feathered friends. The rescue is open to the public on weekends, inviting visitors to experience the vibrant community of birds and perhaps find a new feathered friend to adopt.

The sanctuary continues to flourish thanks to the dedication of its volunteers and the generosity of donors.

"Our mission has always been to create a sanctuary where these creatures can live a life in peace," says Danielle. "Seeing the transformation in these birds, from the moment they arrive to when they finally find a forever home, is truly heartwarming."

For more information, to volunteer, or to donate, visit the Feathered Friends Forever website.


About Cingo: The name Cingo means to surround and secure, conveying the company's commitment to home protection. The company has been protecting families in the Southeast since 1974. It provides home protection services throughout Georgia and South Carolina, including Atlanta, Augusta, Charleston, Douglas, Dublin, Milledgeville, Savannah, Vidalia, Waycross and all points in between. Cingo was named a Best Place to Work in Georgia by Georgia Trend Magazine and listed as a National Best & Brightest Company to Work For. Learn more at www.cingohome.com.