With my father’s recent death and my month-long travel to Arizona to say goodbye and help my mother, I’ve been thinking about readiness, planning, and, most importantly, where our birds fit into all of this. (Everything in life tends to make me wonder of birds – and where they fit in ALL things, I suppose!!)
My parents were not bird owners, but they were (and still are) incredibly methodical, “plan ahead” people. This implies they have a “Living Trust/Will” in which everything (down to the last details and arrangements) has been planned and prepared for years in advance. Even yet, as the one who had to handle everything, there appeared to be an overwhelming number of phone calls, letters, choices, and alerts to be handled, which may be time consuming and confusing.
Anyway, to get to the point, all of my reflections made me realize how vital it is for us to think about our avian friends and make appropriate plans for their future care and well-being. It’s a subject no one wants to think about, and it’s extremely simple to put off – and put off, and put off! But, if we don’t do anything, what happens to our beloved birds after we’re gone? I’ve worked at retail bird businesses that “inherited” birds when owners died, had multiple vet friends in the same situation, and had calls from unhappy family members who have no desire to become bird parents. Often, the birds wind up at the Humane Society, at pet stores, or being transferred from family member to family member to stranger to who knows what destiny. If you like your birds as much as I do, this is not a nice concept!
So, what are we to do? We must begin planning for our birds’ futures right now! Determine where and to whom you want your birds to be sent in the case of your death (or even severe disability). Family members, friends, bird sanctuaries, breeding programs, and zoos are all possibilities. If you want to adopt your bird from a friend or family member, make sure you sit down and properly explain the implications. Is the person aware of the work and responsibilities involved, as well as the fact that it is a lifetime commitment? If you have a sanctuary, zoo, or breeder in mind, contact them to find out how your bird will be incorporated into their flock, what care will be provided, and what steps you should take right away. Whatever you decide, it is critical that you document your wishes in a will or other legal document pertaining to your estate. Make your point. Also, make a note of any immediate care requirements so that your companions are not left in the dark before the will is read and your estate is settled.
Planning ahead for your birdie buddies’ future will not only ensure their well-being, but will also provide you with tremendous peace of mind. Don’t overlook your bird’s future. They are counting on you!
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