TRAVERSE CITY — Visit a local animal shelter and it’s a good bet a dog or cat there can find a new home. Visit Tara and Jake Hurlin and chances are that new family pet will be a parrot.
The Traverse City couple have owned exotic birds for years, but after purchasing a home of their own in July, they were able to dedicate space to start Hurlin’s Hospitality and Parrot Rescue with the goal of locating homes for parrots that have been neglected or abandoned. The Hurlins also offer a boarding service to parrot owners as a means to fund their project.
Tara Hurlin owns five parrots she has taken in herself and said she placed many others in adoptive homes.
“I’ve always had a fascination with parrots since I was a little kid,” she said. “I recall making brightly colored costumes as a child to pretend I was a Macaw.”
Hurlin said only a few people in northern Michigan are aware of the new rescue operation, and her networking is mostly done online.
“I just drove to Columbus, Ohio, to get Toby, a bright green Amazon,” Hurlin said. “He came from another rescue. We believe he’s about 20- to 30-years-old and was used as a breeder in some hoarding situation.”
Her other adoptees, a Goffins Cockatoo, a Citron Cockatoo, a Timneh African Grey and Red Lory, came from similar situations. Hurlin said parrots can live to be 90 years old, something many owners don’t consider when they buy one.
“People have to realize owning a parrot is a life-long commitment, and unfortunately, many people buy a bird as a novelty without realizing they’re temperamental and require lots of interaction.”
Sue Mitchel of Traverse City is very familiar with the issues of owning a parrot.