Adopting a bird from a rescue can be a very rewarding experience. In the United States there are approximately 100 formal avian rescue groups. There are many more that are popping up because of so many birds being displaced. There are avian rescue organizations all over the world in pursuit of giving these birds a 2nd chance in life.
In this article we are going to cover some facts on adopting rescued birds, and what to look for in a rescue
What is a rescue bird? They are birds that are no longer wanted by their owners or their owners were not able to keep them because of circumstances in their lives and they felt it would be best to relinquish their bird to a rescue organization. For many bird owners this is a touch decision. Many 2nd chance birds have been abused, starved, lived in unhealthy conditions, too small of cages, haven’t had much human contact etc… Because of this they tend to be scared, timid, untamed and may have bad habits such as pacing, feather plucking, screaming etc… Before you adopt a 2nd chance bird we ask you to consider the different factors and if a rescue bird is the right choice for you.
Is a rescue bird right for you?
Can you provide a forever home? Do you have the time, the patience and the understanding that a rescued bird may need. Ask yourself can you honestly improve this life. Many people will rescue bird after bird because it pulls at their heart strings. You must be able to provide each individual bird the same type of care as you would if you had just one.
- Can you deal with the bird emotionally? We want to all believe that when we rescue a bird we will be able to “fix” it. This is not always true in many cases their scars are so deep or their diet was so poor they will have medical issues for a lifetime. So if you rescue a bird that is poorly know that you will be giving it a wonderful home but you may also have to deal with the emotional strain of sickness, not living long and the scars from the past.
- Can you provide avian vet care, many birds need to be vetted for the rest of their lives
- What are you looking for in a bird? Birds in general need a lot of time and attention when it comes to being tame. If you are looking for a super tame bird who sits on your shoulder, preens your hair, gives you kisses you may be looking to work with a baby bird. Many rescues do have baby budgies and even tame budgies. Before you adopt let them know what you are looking for in a bird. Be honest with them. Adopting a rescue bird is not as easy as ‘1, 2,3’. Some of the rescue birds may be tame some of these birds may never be tame. If you are looking to provide them with spacious living quarters and enjoy watching them interact let them know that too.
- If you are adding this bird to your flock, do you have a bigger cage to accommodate them, and an extra cage in case they don’t get along with your other birds?
- You must have a quarantine cage so you can keep them away from your flock for 30-90 days to ensure they are healthy.
- Can you afford to add another bird to your flock? More food, higher avian vet costs
- Do you have the time to add another bird to your flock? Are you prepared to clean up after this bird and are you prepared for more noise from your birds?
When you are looking into an avian rescue organization here is some criteria to follow:
- Proof of good health through veterinary reports, pictures and history of the bird
- All incoming birds are quarantined between 30 - 90 days
- Birds in their care are fed a variety diet such as seed, pellets, fresh vegetables, fruits etc…
- Birds are housed in clean, well lit cages which are big enough to allow them daily exercise
- Do they screen potential adopters – if you can just go and adopt a bird by the web with no adoption application be wary (don’t be offended if you are asked questions about your home, what type of cage you have, and a home visit may even be required etc.. Expect this and welcome it because you know they put the bird’s well being first and foremost.
- The organization will care about the bird’s individual need and not what is convenient for them. They will be concerned about flight, social, intellectual needs and daily biological rhythms.
- They require all their adoptees never breed their birds or be placed into a home where they will be bred. This doesn’t mean because you bred you can’t adopt a rescued bird it means that you will agree to keep the bird retired from breeding. Many of these birds have been breeders all their lives and need to live in retirement.
- The group will provide educational resources on proper care, treatment of birds, type of cages to purchase, provide avian vet references.
- The organization will do a follow home visit or do follow-up care to all adopters
- A group that adopts out birds usually have a legally binding contract to ensure the bird can be recovered if improper treatment is discovered
- A group will always be willing to take the bird back for any reason and this should be stated in their contract
- Rescues will have a non-profit status but it doesn’t mean they are ethical don’t be afraid to ask for a copy of its financial statement and information on the board of directors.
- Adoption fees vary from country to country. The adoptions fees are used for the cost of veterinary testing, treatment, food, caging, toys and other necessities. All this can be documented with receipts.
- Some avian rescue groups are even becoming accredited by the few animal rescue and sanctuary accrediting organizations, such as The Association of Sanctuaries (TAOS) and the American Sanctuary Associations (ASA). Check to see if your rescue group is accredited.
The Meaning of Rescue, Baggage by Evelyn Colbath
Now that I’m home, bathed, settled, and fed. All nicely tucked in my warm new bed, I’d like to open my baggage, lest I forget. There is so much to carry — So much to regret. Hmmm... Yes, there it is, right on the top, Let’s unpack Loneliness, Heartache and Loss, And there by my perch hides Fear and Shame. As I look on these things I tried so hard to leave — I still have to unpack my baggage called Pain. I loved them, the others, the ones who left me, But I wasn’t good enough — for they didn’t want me. Will you add to my baggage? Will you help me unpack? Or will you just look at my things — And take me right back? Do you have the time to help me unpack? To put away my baggage, to never repack? I pray that you do — I’m so tired you see, but I do come with baggage — Will YOU still want ME?
To learn more about rescuing birds, reporting pet stores that are not up to par, what you can do to help, a list of rescue organization in your area and more visit Avian Welfare