January is generally noted as Adopt-a-Rescued-Bird month, however, it is important to note that not all birds in adoption organizations were in need of “rescuing,” — i.e., in an abusive situation. Many birds in pet bird adoption groups were lovingly cared for by devoted caretakers who subsequently developed health conditions that made it a challenge to maintain the standard of care their birds were accustomed to or the bird’s caretaker passed away. Unforeseeable life situations like job loss or a change in living situation can also cause a bird to lose his or her home. And there are also individuals who find themselves “in over their heads” in trying to care for birds they might have inherited, found, been gifted or purchased — they realize that the bird deserves much more than they are capable of providing.
Pet Bird Adoption
Is the adoption option right for you? Here are 5 reasons to consider adopting a pet bird:
- First and foremost, you’ll have a chance to offer a forever home to a bird in need.
- You’ll have a better ideal of what the bird is like once he or she reaches sexual maturity. Those who are used to dog and cat companions might not be prepared for the fact that some parrots can be quite different once they reach sexual maturity, which often hits medium to large parrot species around 10 years of age. The “always cuddly” bird a person is used to might be aggressive around the cage during spring. Many pet birds that are available for adoption have already reached sexual maturity and, as such, there is less of a chance of being caught off guard with a “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” switch in personality. Or if the bird is just reaching the age of sexual maturity, the adoption group can help you navigate hormonal stages, and this important “Intel” can greatly help you build a relationship of understanding and respect with your new feathered companion.
- Many people buy a specific species of parrot based on the bird’s reputation as a top talker, such as an African grey or Amazon parrot. While many parrots are capable of mimicking human speech, the only way to guarantee that a bird will choose to do so is to adopt a bird that already talks. Wanting a parrot that talks, however, should not be the only reason to welcome a pet bird into your life. Think of talking as an added bonus and as an opportunity to interact, whether to teach new words or phrases or to converse based on the vocabulary your bird has already learned.
- They’ll help match you up. Reputable parrot adoption organizations will often try to talk you out of getting a bird. That’s not to say that they do not want to adopt out their birds — they want to make absolutely certain that the match will be mutually beneficial to both person and bird. You might have had your sights on getting an Amazon parrot or cockatoo but, after assessing your pet bird experience, living situation, expectations and many other factors, a reputable pet bird adoption organization might very well guide you toward another species of bird that would be better fit. And by the time a pet bird has been taken in under a rescue group’s wing, so to speak, they are likely to have good knowledge of the bird’s history, such as how many homes the bird has lived in, under what circumstances, the bird’s behavioral quirks, likes and dislikes, etc. Not only will they be able to recommend a species of bird that is the best fit for you, they can help narrow it down to a specific bird based on that bird’s personality, which is likely to be well-known by the time the bird is available for adoption.
- Reputable adoption organizations work very hard to turn a neglected bird’s health around (which typically eats up the largest portion of the organization’s budget!), and that includes switching the bird from a nutritionally deficient diet to a nutrient-rich diet a parrot needs to thrive. All too often, even the most well-meaning but uninformed parrot owners feed the wrong diet. For smaller birds especially, like budgies, lovebirds, cockatiels and conures, their previous diet might have consisted primarily of seed. It can be a challenge to convert a “seed-only” bird to a diet that provides essential nutrients. What’s more, since parrots can enjoy many of the healthy foods we prepare for ourselves, such as fresh vegetables, cooked sweat potato, whole-wheat pasta, quinoa, yams, etc … it is rewarding and fun to see your bird enjoy what you share with him or her. Many companion parrots take their time to enjoy each and every savory bite of a food they like. Some will squeal with anticipation or delight, others will literally ask their people for some — the love of wholesome food truly makes life with a pet bird an adventure in dining.
Adopting a pet bird might not be feasible for you but you can still make a huge difference in the lives of parrots in need by volunteering your time, donating supplies (many pet bird adoption organizations have wish lists of items they need); or monetarily through donations. You can even sponsor a specific bird in an organization.