The Global Nest Exotic Bird Sanctuary, located near the Congaree National Park in South Carolina, serves as a refuge for abused parrots, providing them a permanent home after they've experienced unimaginable hardship. Founder and CEO, Michael Cox, has long been a devoted advocate for the welfare of these vibrant birds, currently providing a haven for over 130 parrots, including macaws, African Greys, Amazon parrots, and more.
Despite the sanctuary's best intentions, its enclosures faced a critical issue—poor air quality that risked the health of the sanctuary’s staff and the very birds the facility promised to protect.
Understanding poor air quality in bird sanctuaries
Like many animals, parrots naturally produce dander. Commonly known as "parrot dust," this powdery substance coats the birds' feathers and becomes airborne when they flap their wings. In the wild, the wind easily disperses parrot dust. However, in the sanctuary's enclosed environment with limited air circulation, the dust accumulates, making it easy to inhale.
While not toxic, parrot dust can trigger allergies or asthma attacks in humans. It can also lead to a condition called bird fancier's lung, with symptoms similar to bronchitis.
Furthermore, parrot droppings can harbor bacteria and fungal spores that spread through the air, posing both short-term and long-term health risks (1).
The sanctuary staff felt the effects of the dusty air, often experiencing discomfort and respiratory issues, such as headaches, coughs, and exacerbated asthma symptoms. And the health impact of poor air quality doesn't spare the birds themselves, whose small lungs make them particularly susceptible.
"We were all struggling," Cox recalls. "We had a really hard time breathing clearly."
The search for an air purification solution
Determined to improve the sanctuary's air quality, Cox embarked on a mission to find an air purification solution.
He tried many air purifiers from top brands, some boasting high performance, but none did the trick. “They just seemed to be blowing around the dusty, dirty air.” Cox said. “These other products didn’t clean the air at all. My staff, the birds, and I all kept feeling the effects of the bad air.”
Eventually, Cox decided to investigate IQAir, known worldwide for state-of-the-art filtration technology and exceptional performance. Digging deeper into IQAir’s lines of top-rated air purifiers, he found the HealthPro Plus, which features patented HyperHEPA filters, proven to capture a wide variety of pollutants of all sizes—from larger particles like pollen and dander, down to microscopic mold spores, bacteria, and viruses.
This unique capability to filter particles as small as 0.003 microns (100 times smaller than most other air purifiers can filter), combined with gas-phase filtration, convinced Cox that the HealthPro was a powerful, smart solution. And the HealthPro Series has been used to improve air quality in museums, classrooms, universities, and medical facilities, so its reliability was unquestionable.
Cox knew IQAir’s HealthPro Plus could be the missing piece to the sanctuary’s air quality puzzle.
Implementing the solution
Cox promptly installed five HealthPro Plus air purifiers in the various enclosures of the sanctuary, and their positive impact was evident right away. The air felt fresher and cleaner, a testament to IQAir's advanced technology. Cox said, “Almost from the moment I turned on the systems, I felt a clearer head, and my breathing was so much easier.” He also recalled how members of the staff remarked on their easier, deeper breathing.
And the positive effects extended beyond humans. Cox said, “I could swear, too, that the birds seemed to all be in better moods!”
-Michael Cox, Founder & CEO, Global Nest Exotic Bird Sanctuary
A sanctuary transformed
The Global Nest Exotic Bird Sanctuary’s air quality success showcases the combination of cutting-edge technology with unwavering commitment to create enduring, positive change. It exemplifies the importance of ensuring safe and healthy environments where all creatures can flourish—and stands as a beacon of inspiration for others looking to effect meaningful change.
“It’s a beautiful thing,” Michael said. “When we walk in the enclosures, it’s a breath of fresh air. We—and our beautiful birds—are grateful for IQAir’s technology. When we need to expand our facility to accommodate more birds, we will be sure to look to IQAir once again.”