Free Flight: A Southern California Sanctuary for Exotic Companion Birds

Posted by TF Oren

Free Flight began as an avian boarding and breeding facility back in 1981.

Thanks to the grander vision of benefactor Dr. Robert F. Stonebreaker, it has since transformed into a unique sanctuary dedicated to rehabilitating and rehoming exotic companion birds.

Located in beautiful Del Mar, California, Free Flight became an official nonprofit in March of 2009, shortly before the sudden death of Dr. Stonebreaker. However, the tragedy of his passing inspired those who shared his vision to continue pursuing it, working tirelessly on behalf of exotic birds in need.

Free Flight's original visionary, the late Dr. Robert F. Stonebreaker, with Abby and Theo. Photo via Free Flight

Free Flight serves as both a relinquishment sanctuary and an adoption center. The organization works with bird owners who are no longer able to care for their birds by taking the birds in, rehabilitating those who need it, and finding new homes for adoptable birds. In addition, it also offers boarding, grooming, and daycare for exotic birds that already have homes.

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Education and public outreach are central to Free Flight's mission. Free Flight representatives regularly visit schools, senior centers, and community events with bird ambassadors to educate the public about exotic birds, their complex care requirements, and the organization's efforts, while allowing people to have an up-close and personal encounter with an animal many of them have never interacted with.

Free Flight is open to the public. On any given day, about 50 people of all ages visit and spend an hour or so walking through the tropical paradise, interacting with the sanctuary's colorful flock. The grounds are kid-friendly and wheelchair accessible.

Free Flight is run by a few dedicated staff members and an army of passionate volunteers. The sanctuary is a nonprofit and relies on public support. You can learn more about Free Flight, including how you can visit, volunteer, or donate, here.

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Free Flight: A Southern California Sanctuary for Exotic Companion Birds