She found her calling among parrots

 
 
 

Rescuing animals isn’t all love and cuddles. Dee Hendrickx braves heartbreak every time she takes in a parrot. The keen intelligence, sociability, and exotic looks of these birds intensify their appeal as pets. But the amount of care they require can’t always be met, which is why they’re brought to Hendrickx in horrific conditions. “They’re plucked naked, they’re mutilators, they’re extremely aggressive,” she says. When humans fail to understand them, the birds suffer.

Four years ago, Hendrickx founded Brainy Birds, a sanctuary for parrots. Her love for the species has spanned her entire life. When she learnt of the unnatural circumstances that parrots endure in cages, she turned her passion into action. “I realised there was a great need for the rehabilitation and rescue of these birds,” Hendrickx says. Today, she has over 200 of them in her care. From booming macaws and witty African greys to the littlest cockatiel, Hendrickx knows every one by name.

Though she invests herself in the rehabilitation of each new arrival, not every parrot is meant to stay. Hendrickx’s ultimate goal is to see them re-adopted into loving homes. “It’s always on the bird’s terms,” she says. These feathered creatures aren’t just fancy pets or accessories. By treating them with respect, we can ensure that they never lose their song.