I got a couple of questions in my comments from yesterday, so I thought I would answer them in a post instead of the comments.
First, the easy one! Richard asked where I get the wood I use to make toys. Rocky and Stella go through wood like crazy, so I would go broke if I couldn't make my own toys! We have a home improvement store in our area (it's not national) that sells untreated pine 2X4s, 2X6s, 4X4s, etc. Untreated is the big issue. In my area, The Home Depot only sells treated wood. You might also have a family-owned lumberyard in your area that would be willing to sell you wood. Here is a list of wood that is safe and unsafe for parrots.
Then, we take a mitre saw and chop up the planks into bird-usable sizes. Thinner for the caiques, thicker for the others. Some we drill and hang on wire, but the 2X4s are perfect size for everyone but Daphne to hold in their feet and chip, and that's what they often choose to do!
You can just use regular food dye for the wood, but we've found that our parrots will chew non-dyed just as well and since we're trying to eliminate artificial dyes from their food whenever possible, we give them undyed wood.
If you don't have, or know anyone with, a mitre saw, you can purchase pre-cut wood. The place I would go is The Parrot Asylum, from which I've always received quality components and fantastic service.
I really like making my own toys because it allows me to customize for each individual bird.
Also, thanks for letting me know about the broken link. I will fix it as soon as I post!
Onto the less pleasant question, posed by Shannon, about plans for parrots since there's a good chance they may outlive their owners. Beloved Parrot gave some good answers, but of course I have to be a bit more wordy!
First, this is something that Thomas and I have thought a lot about, even though we're relatively young (early 30s). You never know what can happen! What scares me the most is the lack of control over what happens to your parrot once you're gone. Perhaps I'm jaded by being involved in parrot rescue, but I've come to the conclusion that the majority of people who own parrots shouldn't have them.
I'm not exaggerating when I say that we get at least 20 birds, every year, surrendered to the rescue where I volunteer that haven't been allowed out of their cages in over a year. My own severe macaw, Rocky, was kept at least 6 years in his cage, not allowed out (and that's only what they admitted to). The ridiculously small cages, lack of toys and perches, and filth that we see every week is enough to bring me to tears. The horrible things that come out of these parrots' beaks, and you know that someone was yelling those things at this helpless creature. I'm tearing up now. I could go on with stories of neglect and abuse -- thrown out of a moving car in February in freezing weather, an individual with suspected Munchhausen-by-proxy that plucked her own bird -- but I try not to think about specifics too much as my goal is to remain a relatively optimistic person.
Obviously, I think the best solution is to find a responsible, bird-loving person that you trust.
Good luck with that, especially when you have several birds you'd need to place.
Finally, after going off on my tangent, I arrive at Shannon's question about willing your bird to a rescue. My biggest concern about this is that many of these are basically headed by one or two individuals. What happens when the head of the organization dies? Ideally, as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, plans are in place to keep it going, but I know that's not always the case. Also, many organizations have issues with funding. If the organization is suddenly unable to bring in enough donations or the director is unable or unwilling to cover expenses him/herself, will they start selling birds (adopting into inappropriate homes) to cover the mortgage? Or skimp on food, toys, heating? With some of the bigger organizations, are the birds getting the one-on-one time they need? Especially in a sanctuary situation where the bird is there for life, so the number of birds keeps increasing but only decreases when one of these long-lived birds dies?
Beloved Parrot mentioned some organizations, but I don't have any experience with them. I do know there was controversy recently when it became public knowledge that one of the people on the Gabriel Foundation's Board of Directors is a large-scale breeder. Personally, I don't think I'd want to put any of my birds under the care of an organization with those ethics.
The organization that I like the best right now for long-term prospects is Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. Each of my parrots recently virtually adopted one of their counterparts at this organization (although there was only one caique, so Beeps "adopted" a severe macaw, and no budgies, so Daphne "adopted" a cockatiel). They are large, well-funded, and I have been impressed with everything I've read about them. We're hoping to go out there in the next few years to see it for ourselves.
I must confess that despite a lot of thought on our part, we've personally done very little action. If Thomas and I were to die tomorrow, Rocky would go to Birdlovers Only. I know the director quite well and I know she would find him a great home or keep him. He's just so difficult and I can't bear to think of him being abused or neglected again. Calypso would go to my friend who is great with parrots, but already has a full house so she can't take everyone. Her instructions are that her parrots be euthanized on her death so I feel confident that he wouldn't be neglected or abused again, either. My parents would take, at least temporarily, Max, Daphne, Beeps, and Stella. Obviously this isn't a permanent solution (Max and Stella are likely to outlive my parents). However, those four are great birds so it would be easier to find good homes for them. Not that Rocky and Calypso aren't great birds, but they are more challenging and therefore, in my mind, more likely to be subject to neglect and/or abuse.
Since we still have a fair amount of years to live out a natural life span, I'm really hoping that we outlive the parrots. I'm also hoping that my younger siblings will become bird people, or perhaps have children who are.
Probably not the succinct answer you were hoping for, Shannon, but what else did you expect? Brevity is certainly not a strong point of mine!
I guess the bottom line is that I don't think there's a perfect solution, and it's nice to know there are other people out there thinking about things like this :)