A Mansfield bird lover is hoping to ruffle a few feathers in the town to help make her parrot rescue service fly.
Cheryl Martins has dedicated the past two years of her life to helping find a home for abandoned, mistreated and orphaned birds - particularly those from the colourful chattering classes.
Avian and Exotic Parrot Rescue is a registered not for profit charity run from her home on Ruskin Road.
Mum of three Cheryl, 46 spends hours a day feeding her feathered friends, singing to them, cleaning cages, and making sure they get any necessary medical treatment.
The goal is to place the birds in adoptive homes where they can stay for the rest of their lives.
But food, cages, transport costs and vets bills all cost money and she is now looking to open a fundraising shop.
The front room was alive with cacophony of sound as Cheryl introduced me to some of her beady-eyed companions.
Ozzy a three-year-old Ducorps Cockatoo is perched on her shoulder and greets me with a shrill welcome.
Chery said: “A lot of people have a change of circumstances or if their birds are ill and they can’t afford the vets fees, they will contact us and see if there is any help we can give them.
“We take in birds people can no longer look after, we get them vet checked so there’s no illnesses and then find new homes for them.
“We have a group of fosterers who will take them temporarily, while we are looking for new homes and then we put them up for adoption, where they will be looked after for the rest of their lives.
“They still remain under the rescue banner so if anyone has any problems they can come back to us.
“People don’t realise that these sort of animals do need rescue.
“You hear a lot about cats and dogs, but very rarely do you hear about parrots needing help.”
The group has been going for two years now.
“I don’t think people realise that we are out there yet, “ She says.
“We are there if they need help even if it’s just advice.”
“Ozzy was the one that started it all for me,” said Cheryl.
“He came to me via another rescue and pulled at my heart strings.
“It just pushed me into trying to do more for them.”
Parrots can live up to 100 years and taking one on is a life time commitment.
Said Cheryl: “ People don’t realise just how long they live for.
“They can outlive their owners and people should make provision in their will for them.
“They really should be in the wild not pets. There is nowhere for them to go when people get fed up with them.
Each of her colourful charges has a stage of life and a personality of its own.
A Blue and Gold Macaw is going through the travails of puberty: “I not sure if he’s a she, but he/she is very hormonal.” says Cheryl.
A pair of crested cockatoos brought in separately have become soul mates and are inseparable.
Jed, a Macaw was rescued from an excrement-filled outside coal house aand resembles a skinny oven ready chicken.
His plumage almost completely plucked away by himself in frustration, hee is slowly being nursed back to health.
Chery has been around birds all her life: “I’ve always had a bird craze, my dad used to breed and show budgies.
“I had aviaries in my teens when i left home, with cockatoos canaries and finches. I got into the rescue scene when I was in my late 20s helping with other rescues. The big birds, parrots are my love.”
“We welcome any donations for food cages, transport costs and vets bills - they all have to be covered” said Cheryl.
The charity also helps local wildlife covers the whole of the UK, run solely on donations.
She added: “We are looking for a local business man or woman who may have an empty premises that they would be willing to rent to us as cheap as possible so we can open a rescue information/drop in centre/small shop.
“We currently do shows in the summer but are hoping if we can get a small premises then we can raise funds all year and not just in the summer months.
“If anyone can help with a small shop or building please contact me and we can have a chat.
“We are willing to do small repairs and decorate.”
People can contact Avian and Exotic Parrot Rescue via their website, http://www.avianparrotrescue.co.uk/
Twitter https://twitter.com/avianrescue or Facebook.