ROMEO, Mich. (WXYZ) — Kelley LaBonty thought the man who called desperate for help with dozens of parakeets that he found in his father's house was going to drop off about 80 birds, but he showed up with hundreds the day before Christmas Eve.
The man delivered 497 parakeets, specifically budgies, or budgerigars.
Then the day after Christmas, he contacted LaBonty again. He said he had about 50 additional parakeets to surrender to LaBonty, founder of the Detroit Animal Welfare Group (DAWG).
Knowing the birds were in a horrible environment, LaBonty didn't hesitate to tell the man to bring the birds and to hurry so they could immediately begin to triage the birds. Some were very young and separated from their mothers due to the overcrowding.
But instead of delivering several dozen more birds, he brought an additional 339 birds to the farm in Macomb County, where LaBonty and volunteers care for dogs and other animals in their shelter and rehab wildlife.
The birds were alive but in distress.
"They were all on top of each other and suffocating and very stressed. They weren't even moving when they arrived. I thought they were all dead because not one of them was moving," LaBonty told 7 Action News.
Shannon Kramer from Birds and Beaks Rescue and Rehab in Battle Creek arrived with some of their volunteers to take more than 300 of the birds into their care.
"Bless him for getting help and not just opening a window because that's dangerous, they would have all died," Kramer told 7 Action News.
In the video player above, you can hear what may have sparked the hoarding of the birds with the man's father.
Below are the rescues involved. You can contact each of them for information on adopting any of the birds or making a donation to help with their needs and medical attention: