It all started when a man won a blue-and-gold macaw in a poker game and didn't know exactly what he wanted to do with it. A local bird club found the bird a home. The West Suburban Caged Bird Club (WSCBC), which meets in Warrenville, Illinois, has become a licensed animal shelter in order to care for and place unwanted companion birds effectively. Illinois law required it to be licensed in order to receive birds from other shelters that lack the facilities to care for birds.
As a licensed shelter, WSCBC is subject to surprise inspections twice a year and must keep surrender contracts for donated birds and adoption contracts for adopted birds on file. Birds are adopted to the general public through an application procedure. Adopters must agree that their bird will live in a smoke-free environment and that WSCBC can visit the bird to check up on its status, among other requirements. An adoption fee is charged, which often doesn't cover the veterinary care the bird has received. Birds are routinely checked for psittacosis, and larger parrots are microchipped for positive identification. As a bird club, WSCBC offers monthly educational speakers and invites bird adopters to come listen.
This isn't the end of the paper trail for WSCBC. They have applied for federal 501(c) 3 nonprofit status. For more information, contact: West Suburban Caged Bird Club, P.O. Box 653, Batavia, IL 60510-0653; (630) 879-9476; http://wscbc.org.
The Greater Chicago Cage Bird Club (GCCBC) is also a licensed animal shelter. The club only adopts birds to club members. The adoption program takes in unwanted birds from several different sources that are then adopted out at monthly meetings. People who have been club members for at least six months are eligible to adopt the smaller birds. Those who have been members for at least one year are eligible to adopt the larger birds. Club members volunteer their homes as foster homes for these birds until they are adopted. Eligible club members are limited on the number of birds they are allowed to adopt over a one-year time period. For more information, contact: GCCBC Adoption Program (630) 640-4924; for club meeting or event information, contact: GCCBC (847) 705-6260; www.gccbc.org.