Albert is a 10-year-old quaker parrot whose family is retiring and moving to a complex where pets are not allowed. He is friendly, healthy and is well-loved by his family.
Kiwi is a Senegal parrot whose family just had a baby, and they no longer have time to care for him. He is well-socialized and charming. Both of these parrots need new homes. Who can help?
Parrot adoption organizations can, and so can you.
Albert, Kiwi and others like them are placed for adoption every year. If you are new to birds, or if you are expanding your flock, consider the adoption option. Re-homed birds are no more difficult to care for than birds acquired through other means.
Working with a reputable adoption organization gives you access to a network of informed caregivers and dedicated volunteers. You also get flexibility. If the parrot doesn’t work in your home, many adoption organizations are willing to work with you to find a bird that does.
Some adoption organizations cover the initial expense of taking in a bird, such as cage costs and vet care.
Working with an adoption group, you should get the support to deal with problems as they arise, and the counsel of experienced caregivers is key.
Kathy Leader of Virginia likened her adoption experience, which was done through Phoenix Landing, as similar to the TV show The Dating Game.
"They asked me to describe the bird traits that fit my family. My husband was interested in a quiet bird, my son was interested in a playful bird and I was looking for a tame bird. They let us know about Kiwi, a 7-year-old Senegal that was being fostered in our region. We initially fostered Kiwi. If for any reason the placement did not work, we were not obligated to keep Kiwi, and we would all keep looking for the ‘right’ bird fit.”
Matthew Sullivan met Albert, a quaker parrot, at his vet’s office where Albert was being fostered. Sullivan was immediately smitten with the little guy.
"It only took me a moment to decide that fate had brought this bird into my life,” Sullivan said.
"When I arrived home from the vet I could not wait to tell my wife about the cute parrot that was available for adoption. We discussed the possibility of adding another pet to our family. My wife was open to the idea, and we made several trips to the vet to visit our adoptee, Albert.
"We contacted Phoenix Landing to begin the process. We were required to fill out an adoption questionnaire and review their foster/adoption requirements. We were also required to attend a parrot information course that was provided free of charge.”
As with any new parrot, go slowly and encourage independent play from the start. Let your new parrot adjust to its surroundings for a few days, and don’t force your new bird to interact. Discuss with your family how much time you can reasonably spend with the bird, and use this schedule from the start.
Bringing home a new bird can be exciting, but if you spend 10 hours a day with the bird initially, it will come to expect this amount of attention, and may develop behavior problems when you can no longer devote long hours to hanging out.
Do not respond to any behavior that you cannot live with for the next 50 years. In other words, if the bird does something you don’t like, such as scream, ignore the behavior. Instead, increase the likelihood of positive behaviors by praising and giving attention to the behaviors that you like.
Use the first two weeks (you might need a little longer) to find out your bird’s motivator, which is most likely treats. These coveted treats are the key to getting your bird to choose positive behaviors.
Whether you are looking to expand your flock, or are a first-time bird owner, adoption is an excellent choice. To locate a reputable group, talk to your avian veterinarian, members of a bird club or other bird owners in your area.
Keep in mind that you may need the help of an adoption group one day, and support those organizations. If you do not have the resources to adopt a parrot, consider fostering a bird in need. You can also get involved by volunteering at a parrot adoption organization or offering financial support or sponsoring a bird in need of a home.
Re-homed birds often come from responsible, loving caretakers who come to realize that they no longer can care for their parrots. By relinquishing the bird to a reputable adoption organization, these families are doing the best thing for their parrots.
Want to read more?
Are You Ready To Adopt A Bird?
Fostering: When Parrots Need Home