Monday, December 29, 2008


So many unwanted birds out there. I was up at the rescue where I volunteer this past weekend. There are so many great birds looking for homes, and not many people looking to add another bird to their home. The rescue where I volunteer works with 5 other area rescues, and everyone is in the same boat.

I am particularly bothered when there are greys at the rescue. I think I've mentioned this before, but they seem to fare the worst among all of the parrots that are surrendered. I think it might be that it takes them longer to bond to someone, and when they do, it's serious. They can't handle the loud calls and activity of the dozens of cockatoos and often resort to plucking or mutilation (that's why we brought Stella home).

Several months had passed without any greys at the rescue, but that has come to an end. There are now 5 up there. Five! From horrible conditions. Two came from one house. They were kept together in a cage that is smaller than my budgie's cage. They don't seem to particularly care for each other, and one was picking on the other and not allowing her to eat much.

I think the total number of birds surrendered in 2008 will wind up in the high 400s. And the rescue had to turn down many birds due to lack of space -- what happened to them? Sold on craigslist or just discarded outside (that would have been Beeps's fate in a previous home had a wonderful lady not intervened just in time)?

Two of the greys look remarkably similar to Stella. They have similar plucking patterns, and the terrified look in their eyes that she had when we first brought her home. How can I leave them up there? Especially after uncovering Stella's potential and knowing I could do the same with them? But we are at capacity and it would be unfair to our current birds to bring anyone else home. So they wait at the rescue and I hope that one of the rare people qualified to own a parrot will end up adopting them.

There are also three macaws up there, all of whom have survived horrific events. Like being thrown out of a moving car in winter. The macaw below has severe health problems due to malnutrition and other deficiencies in her care. We didn't think she'd survive to see the new year, but she's been rallying and making great progress. She has this note on her cage because when she is handled, she gets too excited and breathing becomes difficult. However, she is near the end of her treatment for that issue and has regained her spunk. For some reason, she does not like me at all. Perhaps I remind her of someone in her past? When I pass her cage, she lunges and tries to attack. This picture captures so much of her personality!I know I've said this so many times before, but if someone stumbles upon my blog while doing research considering adding another parrot to their flock, please consider an older bird. There are so many out there, looking for homes. Many don't have significant behavior problems that a good home won't solve. They're just wild animals who had the misfortune of being owned by someone who didn't know what it takes to successfully live with these magnificent creatures.


Snoopers said...

Hi Mary,

I don't know how you manage it, working at the rescue as you do. It must be heartbreaking seeing those birds, knowing how much love and affection they could give if only they had the chance.

If only people would be more thoughtful about the commitments they take on when they buy a bird, maybe this would happen less. Blogs like yours are valuable to help people find out what it is like to live with birds on a daily basis, I wish more people would read it before making a decision.

Hope your Christmas was good, and all the best for you and your flock in the new year.

Mary said...

Thanks for the kind words. It is heartbreaking.

I have considered deleting this blog on several occasions; worried that I might be encouraging people to buy parrots.

It's so difficult. My parrots are wonderful, sentient creatures, and I want to portray that here. However, most homes are not equipped to deal with them, so I do try to emphasize it's not all fun and games with them.

Hope you guys had a good Christmas as well. I just can't believe 2009 is right around the corner!

Meg said...

I have to agree with you completely. There are so many birds in all the rescues around here, and I know I can not take any more in right now, at least until my two foster budgies find a home.

I completely understand your worry that you will encourage people to buy parrots, that can be really hard. It is a constant worry of mine, that I will inadvertently encourage someone to get a parrot. Hopefully, as long as I follow it with realistic, yet feel good, stories of adopting parrots, people will take that route.

DoodleBird said...

Have you ever read the book "Of Parrot and People" by Mira Tweti? I'm not quite finished with it, but I highly recommend it. I feel so horrible about the plight of these beautiful creatures, and so many rescues can't handle all those pouring in on a daily basis.