The Gabriel Foundation Aviary & Adoption Center invites you to visit and become birds of a feather with its flock. 

The high plains of Colorado aren't the first place you think of when you think of parrots, but one unique sanctuary has changed all that. The Gabriel Foundation Aviary & Adoption Center (TGF), in Elizabeth, has been a safe place for parrots and other birds in its current location since 2005 (it was previously in Basalt). It provides quality care to over 800 birds each day, providing adoption, rescue, rehabilitation, sanctuary, and long-term care for birds that are in its care. 

"The Gabriel Foundation is a 100 percent donor-supported parrot welfare organization providing for the complete physical, psychological and environmental well being of the parrots in our care. The Aviary & Adoption Center serves as a gateway to a new life for birds in our adoption program, as well as haven for parrots from diverse backgrounds that are in need of sanctuary," says the Gabriel Foundation

The complex is truly a sanctuary. Each species room has its own attached outdoor flight that provides year-round access to spacious, predator-proof flights where the birds can cavort with members of their own species safely in the great outdoors. Felled trees, branches, rocks and boulders, rope swings, and toys of all kinds encourage chewing, foraging, and play in the diverse aviaries and flights. 

Birds find their way to the center in a variety of ways. Many were once a pet, and have gone unwanted by the owners, an unpleasant, but not-uncommon problem among the pet industry all around.  

"The disposable mentality or throwaway cultural attitude prevalent in our society does not speak well for the lives of animals often viewed as commodities that are greatly affected by this trend. They cannot fend for themselves when we do not. TGF receives inquiries daily from around the country because people must “get rid of their birds,” says the sanctuary's website

Birds are given to the sanctuary because of family or financial hardship, human guardian’s illness or death, conflict with spouse or children, lack of human interest and/or time, moving/relocation, a bird’s incomparability with human’s expectations, a bird’s physical handicap, a bird’s chronic illness, rescue from animal cruelty, abandonment, lost bird, or request from a pet store, animal welfare organization, veterinarian, and breeders to provide on-going care.

parrot sanctuary

Many of the parrots and other birds are available for adoption to a loving home. Courtesy of TGF (Facebook).

A huge part of the foundation's mission is to educate more people on parrots, as well as proper care to ensure more birds stay with their owners. To that end, it opens up its doors to visitors, who get a chance to learn more about parrots, the sanctuary, adoption, and more. The tour also lets you get up close and personal with one or two parrots. 

"In order to provide you with a comprehensive tour of TGF’s Aviary & Adoption Center, a TGF staff member or volunteer will personally guide you around our aviary to provide you an overview of TGF’s operations, our birds and our programs and answer your questions," says TGF. "When you visit our flock you’ll be reminded that every bird here was someone’s special baby bird at one time in their life and that our commitment to every one of our residents underscores our dedication to their well-being."

All ages are welcome, but TGF does remind us that parrots can be pretty loud, so earplugs can be provided on request. The tour also includes a presentation, and if you want to make it a day, you can pack a picnic and enjoy it outside in the Memorial Garden. 

Tours can be made by reservation, at least 48 hours in advance, for Tuesday and Saturday at 10:30 a.m., as well as Sunday at 1 p.m. Comfortable shoes are recommended, and TGF suggests allowing 90 minutes for the activity. You can save money on the fee by booking online, but tickets are also available at the facility. 

Make your reservations online, and choose your payment option.