While dogs are normally credited as being man's best friend, in ex-firefighter Brian Wilson's case it has been his two pet parrots.
It all began in 1995, when Brian, a retired firefighter who lives in Damascus, Maryland suffered from major brain injuries, following a car crash. After several months of therapy, Brian's doctors proclaimed that he would never talk again and would have to spend the rest of his life in a nursing home.
However, according to Brian, his two pet parrots didn't give up so easily and kept chattering to him, day and night, until one day, he uttered one word, then another, and all of a sudden was talking like a normal person again!
Brian was so grateful, that he decided to turn his home into a sanctuary for these exotic birds, rescuing and rehabilitating those whose owners were neglecting them, or didn't want them any more.
Now 15 years later, his house is home to about 80 birds, which included several macaws, cockatoos, African grays and other types of exotic birds, who flit around from room to room, some cackling, others talking like humans. While they all have spacious cages, Wilson does not believe in locking them up and lets them roam freely within the house.
Over the years, Wilson, who has been nicknamed bird whisperer, seems to have a have developed a special bond with them - whereby even the most neglected birds, who bite other humans, seem to trust and take to him immediately.
Brian pays for most of the costs of looking after the birds from his own money, but has recently established a foundation, that accepts donations.
He and his troop of birds also earn money by performing at birthday parties, corporate events and the waterfront in Alexandria, Virginia.
While Brian occasionally gives up one of his birds for adoption, any prospective new owner is vetted carefully, and has to volunteer at the foundation for three months, before they can take the pet home. For more information about the foundation and some more cool pictures check out his website at www.wilsonparrotfoundation.com.
Sources: Telegraph.co.uk, baltimoresun.com, Msnnews.com