More Often Than Not -- It's not about a Bird's Welfare but About Making Money
Exotic birds have become valuable commodities and they are, therefore, frequently targeted by "business people" whose focus is not the welfare of birds, but for whom they represent a means of making a living. Proper care would cut into profit margins. Birds in the care of these self-proclaimed "rescuers" are suffering from emotional and physical neglect.
This problem is heart-breaking and overwhelming and we may not be able to save all birds - HOWEVER, let's save one at a time - let's start with YOURS!
- Placing Your Pets: If you have re-homed pets in the past or might be doing so in the future, I urge you to read this
- Donating Money or Your Time : So you think the money you are donating benefits the rescued birds? Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. Before paying out another dollar - you may want to read this article.
If your reason for wanting to re-home your pet bird is lack of manageability and behavioral problems -- please consider educating yourself on parrot behavior and training. With a little effort and time, behavioral problems can be resolved and your companion bird can indeed be the pet you always wanted.
However, if circumstances force you to give up your pet - I urge you to proceed with caution.
- Your pet's wellbeing and happiness depends on YOUR actions. It's up to you to place your pet into a suitable home where it is loved and cared for - or take a risk that your pet may be permanently imprisoned in a cage with minimal care - or worse. This is most surely not something to take lightly.
- Avoid "Bird Storage Facilities": One rescuer described himself as a "prison guard" and he hit the nail right on the head - that is exactly what he is. The devastating aspect of it all is that the only "crime" these birds have committed was being born in captivity.
- If you have re-homed birds in the past - I urge you to check up on them. Call the new owner -- or visit the rescue organization that has now possession of them. Verify that they are doing well. If you find your pets in a bad situation, please try your best to rescue them.
The Better Way To Place Your Pet:
- Place your pet with a relative or a friend who you know will love and care for your pet.
- Use your local resources: Your local avian vet or animal rescue officer may know of someone who would provide a good home for your pet.
- Get in touch with bird lovers who appreciate and know the bird species: One of my favorite ways of finding a good temporary or permanent home for a parrot is to join a relevant mailinglist. Go to: http://groups.yahoo.com/ - do a search on your bird's species; i.e., cockatoo, amazon parrots. Find a high-volume relevant mailinglist and listen in for a while. You will find that many of the people on these lists really know these birds. Once you are comfortable with the participants, post that you are looking for a temporary or permanent home. State your area and see what happens. Hopefully, you will hear from several people. I would then send a discreet e-mail to the list administrator(s) and ask them for their opinion. Also check the archives of that list for posts from those people who have expressed an interest in your bird. All that information should give you a good take on the people and their suitability. I found this to be the very best way to find someone who is truly compatible with the bird species and is focused on providing the best possible care.
- Place an ad in your local classifieds: Screen potential homes carefully. Inquire about their experience with birds. Find out what set-up your bird would be in. Explain to the potential owners your bird's specific needs and personality traits.
- Don't assign a "zero" value to your pet. - If you choose to advertise your pet, it is especially important to assign a monetary value to him or her. I understand that your priority is to find a good home, but you have to remember:
- if someone can't afford to pay money for a bird, they can't afford to take care of it.
- "Free birds" are less likely to receive health care and more likely to be targeted by scrupulous "business people" whose primary motivation is to exploit your pet.
- DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, accept a payment plan that allows your bird to go to someone's house before all payments are made. In fact, I wouldn't even give my birds to anyone who can't afford to pay the adoption fee outright. One of the most frequent scams is for these people NEVER to pay a dime and they tell the previous owners that their bird has died just to get them off their backs. It's not just about the loss of money - but these scam artists are not likely to take care of the birds that they steal (and that's exactly what they are doing). It's the birds that will suffer in the end.
- Parrot Education & Adoption Agencies: If you can't find a good home for your pet, there are some agencies that will temporarily house your bird, train prospective bird owners to properly care for their pets and, finally, they will place birds into carefully screened homes. The best ones I have heard of are listed below:
- Should a bird rescue or sanctuary be your only option, it is recommended to visit the premises several times before committing to turning the pet over to them.
During your re-homing efforts, you are likely to come in contact with the following:
- Hoarders: Bird hoarders tend to be kind, bird-loving people, who are suffering from a mental disorder that predisposes them to collect animals. They are doing it for the right reasons -- their love of the animals, but the more birds they have the less they can properly care for them.
Hoarding - if not intervened - progresses to a point where the hoarder is unable to provide even minimal care -- usually culminating in the death of animals.
- Business People: They may play a great act, promising a wonderful home for your birds with lots of love, best of care -- but don't be fooled. Good food, bird toys and quality bird care come with a price tag that "business people" usually don't want to pay. More often than not, they provide minimal care until the bird either stops producing money-making offspring or is sold at a profit.
These individuals will often masquerade as a bird rescue - in fact, they may even be registered as a non-profit organization (50 bucks and the completion of a government form will get you that). But their primary intention is to get free birds to turn around to sell for profit, to obtain free breeding stock or to simply live off donations without properly caring for the birds.
- Who is Who? Hoarders generally don't actively seek birds. They are usually known bird lovers and people just have learned to rely on them to accept unwanted birds into their homes. This being said, if they hear of a bird in need of a home, they are likely to offer themselves as an option.
"Business people" - on the other hand -- frequently respond to classified ads or they actively advertise to receive free birds. They may put it in the context of replacing a beloved pet that died, or "wishing to give a good home to a 'macaw,' ' 'cockatoo,' 'african grey.' "The fact that they are looking to give a home to one specific species - which generally is valuable - is a good indication that they are seeking to make profit - either through reselling the "free" bird or breeding your bird.
Researched & Authored By Sibylle Johnson
Please Note: The articles or images on this page are the sole property of the authors or photographers. Please contact them directly with respect to any copyright or licensing questions. Thank you.