By Diane Burroughs
Did you know that in the U.S., pets are considered personal property to buy and sell at will? Even parrots, many species which are on the CITIES Endangered Species List. Rehoming a dog or a cat happens all the time. Rehoming parrots is becoming a serious concern for our feathered friends. Rehoming a parrot through adoption is a responsible choice.
Our culture has not traditionally revered animals as being fundamentally valuable nor endorsed a great deal of moral responsibility for their care. We Americans tend to pursue pet ownership based on our needs and not the needs of the pet. For this reason, people frequently acquire a pet wholly based on their short term desires and not the needs of the animal. All you have to do is look up PetFinders.com to see how many pets are available for rehoming in your zip code! There’s an incredibly sad, long list of dogs, cats, parrots, and small pets in need of rehoming. Every one of them deserves a forever home.
I was adopted myself so as a bird lover, rehoming a parrot was important to me. BirdSupplies.com strongly advocates responsible pet ownership, including the rehoming a parrot alternative. Long lived parrots are captivating for those that can love and commit to them, but the commitment is measured in decades not years. Incredibly social, intelligent and engaging, most pet bird species are living in shelters and available for adoption. There are some reputable pet stores and breeders that care more about insuring the parrot is placed in an informed and educated home rather than making a sale, but overwhelmingly, most parrots go to homes where the new owner is poorly educated about the care requirements of parrots nor the level of commitment. Reputable pet stores develop a contract with you whereby you must commit to bonding with your new pet, learning its long term care and enrichment needs and develop a plan to both train your pet bird and parrot proof your house.
I rehomed a 3 year old Moluccan Cockatoo, but it took me a good month to research and soul search whether I was up for the commitment. I’ve had Peachy for about 15 years and he is pretty much like a son! Truth is, Peachy picked me! As you probably know, parrots mate for life. Peachy was 3 years old and relinquished to a bird store when his first family had to move and couldn’t take him to their new home. I was a well known “bird lady” at Birds of Paradise in
Wichita, KS and the staff at the bird store were completely honest and realistic in terms of the level of commitment that Peachy would require. They interviewed me about my suitability to care for Peachy as much as I interviewed them about whether I was equipped to care for Peachy. Even so, I took it upon myself to read everything that I could about Moluccan Cockatoo’s while doing some serious self reflection. I made sure that the whole family was on board for our new feathered son, too! We ultimately decided that Peachy was a “Burroughs” for ever and ever. He’s still here! And, I have plans to write his long term care into my will.
I used to own a brick and mortar store and it was sad how many people would call to try and sell a parrot back to a bird store. One extreme story I remember – a lady called me and asked me to buy her mother’s baby Moluccan Cockatoo. Her mother was 80 years old! Apparently, the zealous and gifted sales person at Busy Birds in Wichita felt that the 80 year old lady could develop a long term commitment with this long lived bird. A healthy, well cared for Cockatoo can live for up to 80 years! Surely, a baby cockatoo is the cuddliest creature ever, but, was it in the best interest of the aged mother to acquire a pet that bonds for life and lives 80 years? NOT. Do you think that that baby bird had rights?
I recommend that you put as much thought into acquiring a parrot as you would in purchasing a house. After all, it is a long term emotional and financial commitment. If you are working with a pet store or a breeder make sure that they offer realistic and appropriate advice based on your needs and the birds’ needs rather than working toward closing the sale. If you choose to buy a baby bird, interview the pet store. Responsible parrot shelters such as MAAPS, The Gabriel Foundation, Phoenix Landing, Oasis and Fosters Parrots require that potential adopters complete classes and demonstrate a long term commitment before rehoming parrots in their care. You can test out your own commitment by completing one or more applications to adopt a parrot. The application process asks relevant, inquiring questions that really require self-reflection about whether your personality and lifestyle are “parrot friendly.”