Couple Helps Neglected And Injured Birds

Steve and Louise Heard of Rusk County have a passion for caring for exotic birds.

So much so that they've turned their home into a sanctuary for neglected and handicapped birds.

Often the Heards are the only people willing to help injured animals.

"It's fairly young. It's got a broke wing," says John Martaindale about a Sparrowhawk he brought the Heards.

John found the Sparrowhawk along the side of the road Friday afternoon.

"I just don't like to see animals hurt. They're one of God's creatures and I wouldn't want be left on the side of the road," says John.

John went to various law enforcement agencies and even a game wardens office hoping to find someone who will help the hawk but no one would.

Finally on Monday morning John found Steve and Louise Heard.

"A little on the thin side. He's not terribly skinny but the main thing would be dehydration," says Steve about the hawk.

"Nobody's gonna go hungry here. We're just always glad to take them," says Louise.

Louise says she always knew her husband loved exotic birds but she never imaged where that would lead them.

"We just have a passion for birds. Steve wanted a bird one time and I said he's a good man he can have a bird. I didn't know we were getting the whole flock but it's okay," says Louise.

Four years later Steve and Louise are caring for 140 unwanted and handicapped birds.

"I'll find someone to take care of it," says Steve about the hawk.

While Steve is not an expert in domestic birds he assures John he'll take the hawk to someone who is.

He says with the right care this hawk may one day be able to be released to fly again.

Amy Tatum, reporting.