The Wings of Love Bird Haven received a $200,000 grant from the DJ&T Foundation, but, most recently, the nonprofit was approved for the purchase of 10 acres of land in Ferris as well as a new building.
The donation covered the cost of the land and the building that will act as a storefront for the organization. Since 2003, the organization has grown but doesn’t have the capacity to fulfill the needs of and round Ellis County.
De Waggoner, the founder of the bird haven, has put the past 15 years of her life into the nonprofit. After filling out the application for the donation, she was contacted for a short interview. She then visited the post office every day, anxiously waiting for the letter.
“It was a Sunday and my husband had driven me to the post office, and when I opened it up the letter it didn’t have DJ&T on it,” Waggoner said. “I didn’t even recognize it, and I almost threw it away. Then when I opened it I almost collapsed. I was so bumfuzzled.”
Initially, Waggoner wouldn’t turn away any birds, but over time, she didn’t have space or enough personnel to help her maintain the birds. Nowadays, Waggoner tries to not take in smaller birds.
“If we took in a cockatiel or a budgie, or a lovebird, I hate it because their life is just as important as the bigger ones,” she explained.
As of now, the bird haven is located in Red Oak and ran out of a home with a significant amount of space to care for 20 to 25 birds. The location is even equipped with a quarantine area to house one sick bird at a time.
With the new location, Waggoner said, “We will be able to take in a lot more birds. I wouldn’t say the nonprofit will benefit from this, but really the birds will benefit from this.”
After the new location is in full swing, the Red Oak home will be used as a place for birds that need some tender, loving, care.
The grand opening won’t be until the springtime, as the building still needs renovations, water, and electricity. The main building will serve as a storefront where she can sell homemade bird food, host training sessions, teach others how to make bird toys and host a parrot care 101 class.
Next to come to the property is a bird building so the birds can live on-site instead of in Red Oak. In the meantime, Waggoner plans to bring a couple birds to the building to showcase to visitors.
But Waggoner’s vision for the bird haven goes beyond housing. She hopes to create a canopy area where people can get to know the birds and have space for them to fly around. Eventually, she plans to provide boarding for birds too, in order to create more revenue for the organization.
She also hopes to add a suite to the birds building so a caretaker can be on-site during all hours of the day, ensuring the birds have the best care. Next, she plans to have a quarantine building that will hold more than one sick bird at a time.
“What do you do when you’ve got a bird that doesn’t want to be with people? The only option is to euthanize them. That’s not fair. They need a place to stay to just live out their lives and be a bird. That’s what we want them to provide,” Waggoner said.
Waggoner explained that the common reason people surrender their birds are due to relationships, such as a significant other not liking the bird or the owner becoming afraid of the bird being around children. The surrender fee is $125, which includes travel expenses, testing materials and shipping charges.
Waggoner said a lot of people will get a bird on a whim and aren’t committed to the bird life. Some also won’t do the research to understand the tedious upkeep.
Adoption fees range from $175 to $600, and Waggoner said, “These are negotiable on our terms.”
With the new location, she plans to provide more resources to the public, but more importantly, to the birds.