The Gilcrease Nature Sanctuary is helping some of its rescued inhabitants spread their wings and fly to new forever homes.
Although many of the about 460 birds are lifetime residents of the sanctuary, 8103 Racel St. , some are better suited for solitary life or arrangements in a home setting, sanctuary executive director Barbara Price said.
"Some were raised by people and need to be raised in a loving home," she said. "Wouldn't it be great if we could do bird intake for those whose owners died or had to give them up?"
Enter the Adopt A Rescue program.
Six birds have been formally adopted to local owners via the program. The application process is lengthy and involves steps akin to a conventional human adoption, Price said.
A committee OKs a candidate before he can move forward. Home visits, foster parent periods and follow-up checks are among initial hurdles they could face, Price said.
Candidates must be at least 21 years old and have steady income, adequate indoor and outdoor cage or aviary and, if applicable, knowledge and consent of a landlord.
Adoptions are facilitated in conjunction with the Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah .
The Gilcrease Nature Sanctuary is currently conducting a master development plan project to make the more than 40-year-old facility an educational hub and safe haven for its animals. It is no longer accepting rescues.
The sanctuary has reshuffled aviaries and cages in the wake of development and while it continues to rebuild following a March 2010 fire.
Despite the changes, the adoptions of select birds are good for all parties, Price said.
"It's good for us because some of the birds will never do well in a flight," she said of an open-air cage setting. "We have flight cages, and some birds are better in a home."
Buddy II , one of magician Rick Thomas ' prized cockatoos, is to be available for adoption with the sanctuary in about 60 days . The bird wasn't part of Thomas' former Sahara headlining show, but he described her as a "sweet girl" and not obnoxious like similar birds.
Thomas has four other birds from his act housed at the Gilcrease Nature Sanctuary while he helps open a new theater in South Korea. The sanctuary built special aviaries for Thomas' small fleet. The birds -- Buddy , Buddy II , Rainbow , Frenchy and Booya -- faced quarantine for an uncertain amount of time in South Korea , and he said he was "not going to put them through it."
Thomas, a Centennial Hills resident, said the sanctuary is a trusted refuge for his show birds and Buddy II's hopeful adoption.
"There are so many people out there that want to take birds on as a pet," he said. "The moment they get these birds, within days they find they are messy, loud and need constant care, more than cats or dogs. I'd have to know (the caretakers) were people who wouldn't dump these animals. Gilcrease can take care of her."
The sanctuary is willing to stay involved in the adopted bird's life to ensure quality care, Price said.
Adoptions have been conducted since October .
"We are in our fledgling stages, but we are doing it," Price said.
For more information, call 645-6808, visit naturesanctuarygilcrease.org or email gilcreasenaturesanctuary@ yahoo.com.
Contact Centennial and North Las Vegas View reporter Maggie Lillis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 477-3839.