Considering a pet bird or parrot? Then consider adoption rather than the purchase of a new bird from a breeder or pet store. Many birds are available in pet adoption centers or bird sanctuaries that come from previous owners who have been unable to look after them. If you have the correct skills, equipment and patience then many of these birds can be taken into your home as a new family member.
Why Are Birds Put Up For Adoption?
A lot of people with good intentions buy a pet bird on impulse or with an incomplete understanding of the care and expense that will be required for what is most likely a long period of time. Most parrots live for over 20 years, with some having lifespans of more than half of a century. The No Feather Left Behind avian rescue group lists these as some of the prime reasons that people give up their pet parrots.
- Noise – Parrots are intrinsically loud creatures. There is no way around the fact that they will make noise. Many owners do not realize how noisy their parrots will be and this can cause problems either within the home or with neighbors. This issue can be exacerbated when housing parrots in an apartment.
- Mess – Cleaning up after you parrot is a daily chore that needs to be done to maintain your bird’s health as well as to keep your home presentable.
- Cost – Keeping a parrot can be an expensive proposition which not all owners take into proper consideration before taking in their bird. The price of toys, food, and vet visits add up over time and in some cases may cause an owner to give up their pet.
- Biting – Some birds can be problem biters. Even if they are docile with their main human companion, they can be difficult to handle for other family members. Large parrots can inflict serious injuries and may not be able to be fully tamed and broken of this habit.
- Behavioral Problems – Issues such as excessive screeching, feather plucking and fear biting are all in some way related to your bird being kept in captivity. If you don’t spend enough quality time with your bird, these behaviors will get worse and may lead to you giving up your parrot.
- Allergies – Some people may be allergic to the dust and dander produced by parrots causing them serious respiratory problems.
- Having a Baby – When family dynamics change everyone is affected. This includes your pet parrot. Noise levels that were previously tolerable may not work with a baby in the house. The parrot may see the new, small human as a rival, and could potentially injure your child.
- Death of an owner – A parrot may outlive their owner and need to be re-homed.
Benefits Of Adopting A Bird
Though trade in wild-caught birds is no longer widely tolerated, there is still a glut of birds available from breeders. They can be found in pet stores or through contact with the actual breeder. This perpetuates a situation where people are attracted to baby birds in a pet store, only to find out in time that they have made a mistake and must give up their pet.
In addition to the fact that in most cases it is less expensive to adopt a bird rather than buy a new one, lafeber.com gives these other benefits: 1) you will be rescuing a bird in need of a permanent home and 2) many adoptable birds have reached sexual maturity. This gives the prospective adoptive parent a better sense of the bird’s personality.
Parrot rescue and adoption organizations will do their best to ascertain that you are a good fit for the bird you are interested in obtaining. They may try to talk you out of taking the bird until they are satisfied that you are prepared to provide the care and attention it will need. Reputable organizations want to make a successful match and will help you decide on a species or perhaps even a specific bird that will work well with you and your home situation.
In many cases, birds brought to an adoption center may be suffering from an inadequate diet. The center will try to rectify this situation and by the time you adopt your bird there is a good chance that it will accept a healthy diet as opposed to the seed-based diet that is all that is offered to many pet parrots.
Where Can I Adopt A Bird?
There are many adoption centers and bird sanctuaries that have birds who need homes. You may also be advised of birds needing to be re-homed by your local veterinarian. Your local SCPA or Humane Society is a good place to start your search. They can put you in touch with a facility that will help match you up with a bird that needs you and works with your living situation.
What Will I Need To Do When Adopting A Parrot?
When adopting a bird, you should be prepared to go through a more thorough informational procedure than if you were simply buying a bird. This is because a good adoption center does not want you to take a bird that you will be returning for any of the reasons it may have been given up in the first place.
An example of the process you must undergo can be seen by looking at Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue, one of the largest bird adoption organizations in California. Their site, mickaboo.org, explains the criteria they employ when adopting out one of their rescued birds. Here are some of them.
- Attend a free bird care class.
- Submit an application and go through a phone and home screening to ascertain your ability to care for a parrot.
- If approved, you have a chance to meet with the birds to determine which may be best for you.
- On adoption, a fee is paid to the organization and you must sign a disclaimer stating that you will not sell, give away or breed the bird. If you cannot keep it for any reason, they want the bird returned to Mickaboo.
Many rescues and adoption centers follow similar procedures to ensure that the birds go to a good home and are not used in breeding which may perpetuate the problem of unwanted birds and parrots. You should see this as a good thing and not an onerous requirement, and as a bird lover work with them to find the right fit for you. Here is a short video that talks about how to adopt.
Should I Adopt A Bird?
If you are considering adding an avian family member, adoption is a great way to go. You will be able to find an appropriate companion while at the same time helping a bird escape from an unfortunate situation. Sounds like a win for all concerned.