Monday, January 26, 2009

Everyone Should Give Back and Reach Out

Last Saturday Emily and I headed up to the Wings of Love Bird Haven Rescue in Red Oak, TX for their work day.
It was a great opportunity to meet the caring people who created and run this rescue, and help the birds in their care.
Upon arrival we were quickly walked through a disinfecting foot bath, before being put to work cleaning up. We helped to sweep and mop, change newspapers and get the cages hosed off and clean. When that was done, we spent a few minutes helping to insulate one of the rooms, before moving on to my favorite part of the day... toy making.

A group of 5 of us sat around two tables full of toy making materials and combined making toys with discussing various aspects of parrot care. There was a great balance of people from the trainee vet assistant who came to learn about birds, to the experienced owners of many years. I think we discussed every topic from training, to nutrition to toys to foraging to vet care and everything in between. A lot of valuable information was shared for the benefit of all our birds.
So all in all a very productive day was had by all, which benefited not only the surrendered birds at Bird-Haven, but also our own birds.

Good quality bird rescue organizations are vital for the companion parrot community.
There will always be occasions when no matter how well we plan ahead, things can go wrong and our birds need to find new homes. By surrendering them to a good rescue you can rest assured that they will not only give the bird the best of care while with them, but also that they will carefully screen not only potential adoptive homes, but also those who do home checks, foster or just volunteer at the facility.
A good rescue will also try and work with you before surrender to help you make changes to your routine and lifestyle in order to keep the bird in your home. Often with a little work, the problem which was causing the surrender can be solved.

Unfortunately there are also bad rescues out there. So if you are considering surrendering your bird it is important that you do a check on the rescue itself. Discuss the diet, foraging opportunities, enrichment, caging, which vet they use and what kind of vet care they provide, ask for a tour of the facility, discuss their adoption process. You should leave the bird there knowing that it will be cared for to the highest standards, and that the rescue is ultimately putting the birds interests first and foremost above all else. If for any reason you do not feel comfortable leaving your bird there, then don't. There are a number of rescue facilities in Texas and world wide, if the first one does not meet the interests of your bird, then look to the next one.

Unfortunately the best rescues are often underfunded and understaffed. That is because giving high quality lives for their birds and the best care is not cheap. Think about how much you spend in a year on your beloved pet bird. Now times that by 10 or 20 birds and factor in problems like birds who have never had vet care and have severe health issues, multiple birds who are surrendered without suitable caging and you'll come out to a huge figure and these facilities rely on donations from the public. Think about how long you spend preparing food, cleaning cages, making enrichment opportunities. Now scale that up to the size of a rescue and you'll realize why volunteers are so vital to the success of the rescue and the welfare of the birds in their care.

If you are looking to add another bird to your home, you could do far worse than opening your heart and home to a bird from a rescue. Yes, some come with behavioral problems which may not be suitable for everyone. But there are also birds who are wonderful companions who just need a loving, caring home.
The adoption process may be long, but that is only because the rescue wants to place the bird in the best possible home with the best possible owner. But the rewards when that bird settles down with you is hugely rewarding.
If you are in Texas you could do far worse than one of the birds currently living at Bird-Haven. They currently have available for adoption Amazons, Cockatoos, Macaws and a Quaker. Check out their website for more information on adoptable birds and their adoption process.

So I guess what today's' blog post is about is reaching out. Reach out to your local rescue to volunteer, to adopt, to donate and if needed to surrender your bird. Whichever path you choose to help you will not only get great satisfaction from seeing happy birds, but your Karma will also get a boost.

Before I finish I would also like to mention for those interested in positive reinforcement training methods, that Barbara Heidenreich will be doing a workshop hosted by Wings Of Love Bird Haven on March 14th:

Saturday, March 14, 2009 10:00-5:00
4515 LBJ Freeway
Dallas, TX
Registration is 65.00 per person/115.00 for 2 family members in the same household
After February 1st price increases to 75.00/125.00
Please sign up at
Lunch provided
Live Demonstrations with several birds provided by
Wings of Love Bird Haven, Inc.
(no guest is allowed to bring any birds)
Seating is limited
Contact for more information

I highly recommend attending this workshop as it will provide a huge amount of information on positive reinforcement and give you the chance to support a rescue!

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