(WBIR-Sevierville) You may have seen the sign high on the hill near Dollywood. It's Parrot Mountain.
You'll see plenty of interesting birds but the main attraction at the parrot sanctuary is parrots.
"Let's play a game. Are you ready to play? Let's play peek a boo. Peek a boo. Peek a boo," Fletcher Hollingsworth said as he interacted with one of the tropical birds.
It seems like he is always having a good time. Fletcher Hollingsworth opened Parrot Mountain and Gardens in Sevierville a dozen years ago and runs it with the help of his extended family.
He said, "The number one reason we get parrots in is they outlive their owners. They live anywhere from 40 to 60 to 80 years. Number two is people get older and they want to travel and they want some place for their parents to go and they bring them to us. And people get sick sometimes and can't care for them so we take them in and care for them."
Most of the rest of these parrots were born at the sanctuary and raised by hand.
They like people but keep your hands to yourself when you wander right up to their perches to see the variety of parrot species.
"This is Kiwi," he said as a small green bird crawled out of his pocket. "He is the smallest species of all the parrots in the world. This guy is native to the country of Peru. They live 30 plus or minus years. He's 14 years old. Then you have Bluey right here. Come here big guy. This is the largest species of all the parrots in the world. It's a hyacinth macaw. Lifespan is around a hundred years. This guy is nine years old. Very highly endangered. Less than 2,500 of these exist in the entire world."
In one area visitors can actually feed the birds nectar. It's a good idea to wear a hat though because while the parrots are pretty they are not potty trained.
The tropical birds actually like the weather here in East Tennessee.
Fletcher Hollingsworth loves Parrot Mountain so much that's he lives on the premises.
"I love the gardens. I get out here early in the morning before daylight. Walk the gardens. Tend to the flowers. Check the birds. It's just like walking in paradise," he said.
The paradise is open every day March through November.