For the whole of my life, I have been completely mesmerised by various species of birds. To begin, I’d want to tell you a little bit about my background. I own and run a small home-based aviary. Moluccan, Umbrella, and Medium Sulphur Crested (Elenora) Cockatoos, Green Wing Macaws, and African Greys are the species that I have been successfully breeding and rearing.
My cockatoos, macaws, and grey parrots all live on the upper level of my home, with the cockatoos and macaws occupying one room and the greys occupying the other room. They enjoy the benefit of natural sunlight and clean air at the upper levels of the building. They are able to enjoy the sights and sounds of dawn and twilight, the sounds of birds singing on the treetops, and the sound of rain falling.
In addition to that, each room has its own sound system, on which I like to play nature CDs, classical music, and even some jazz on occasion. I have a deep affection for my feathered children, and I work hard to provide them with the finest life that can be had while they are in captivity.
Due to the fact that I always screened the possible new parents, I have never sent any of my kids or sold them to pet stores. A long consultation on correct care, an explanation of the newborn’s behaviour, and hands-on instruction to learn the appropriate ways to handle the infant were all included with each new baby.
We went through everything, regardless of whether or not they were knowledgeable bird experts, just to make sure that everyone was “on the same page.” In addition, I make myself readily accessible to my customers whenever they have questions or need assistance navigating a challenge. I have the distinct impression that I am responsible for bringing these newborns into the world, and it is my duty to ensure that they will get the appropriate level of care and will have a life that is filled with much love, good health, and happiness.
Because I have such a deep and abiding affection for my birds and because I have been a responsible and diligent breeder for the last decades, my perspective on breeding has gradually evolved to become more negative. I am unable to specify how or when it first began; there was no major realisation; rather, it was simply awareness and a sense that built and expanded through time. How can I rationalise adding more birds into a world that already has…
THERE ARE COUNTLESS UNWANTED PET BIRDS IN NEED OF LOVING HOMES.
I get emails and phone calls almost every day from individuals who have made the difficult decision to part with their bird in the hopes that I may be interested in adopting it. I engage in conversation with them in the vain hope that I may persuade them to reconsider their position, but so far I have not had much success in this endeavour.
Many people even phone our two local zoos, under the impression that they would be delighted to accept their birds, and are surprised when they are told that they cannot do so. I explain to them that the zoos get calls every day much like theirs and that the zoos are not rescue organisations for all of the unwanted pets in the world.
Even if they wanted to, zoos simply do not have the capacity to house all of these undesirable birds. I go out to friends, customers, and acquaintances in the community to inquire about their capacity to take in an additional bird in an effort to facilitate the process of rehoming the birds that have been given to me by these individuals.
Because of this unfortunate turn of events, I have used up all of my resources and must now direct them to the local clubs and rescues. Sadly, the local rescues and groups in our area are unable to take any more people in. They have reached their maximum capacity and are unable to take any more customers. I get a depressed and helpless feeling. What will happen to all of these companion birds who were not wanted?
As a result of my recent awakening to the problem of an excessive number of stray and abandoned birds, I have come to the conclusion that it is high time for me to go on a new adventure. The first thing you should know is that my aviary has made the executive decision to stop breeding cockatoos and macaws.
They have a home for the foreseeable future here with me, and I have just retired them. For the time being, as part of my transition, I need to take care of a few African Greys while I pursue my ambition of building an avian rescue and sanctuary in the local region, which is much needed by the community.
A few years ago, I started to come to the realisation that my birds could outlive me, and I realised that I needed to make a plan for their future. Where do you think they will go? Who will love and care for them as much as I do if they are not with me?
I would hate for them to end up in the care of a breeder who does not uphold ethical standards or in the gloomy, musty basement of someone’s home. I want them to retire and spend the rest of their life in a state of contentment and well-being. In the past, I sometimes gave some consideration to this topic and even performed some studies on it.
When the time came to give up my pairs, I reached out to Parrot Jungle as well as a few sanctuaries located outside of the state, but no one was interested in receiving them. Being the procrastinator that I am, I just put it out of my mind and decided to worry about it at a later time.
To guarantee the future of my pairings is yet another motivation behind my efforts to establish a rescue and sanctuary of some kind.
Not only is there a problem with an excessive number of companion birds who are without homes, but also, given that I am a breeder, I was thinking about the hundreds of breeding pairs that are now available.
It has come to my attention that all of the breeders I am familiar with, including myself, are “growing up in age.” To my relief, I do not see members of the younger age becoming interested in the breeding of birds, but…
WHAT IS THE FATE OF ALL OF THESE THOUSANDS OF BREEDING PAIRS?
Where will they have to go if they are forced to leave? Who would or is able to take care of each and every one of them? The bird shelters that we have at this time are already at their maximum capacity with companion birds. These breeders have been captured in the wild for the most part; they are mature; they have not been taught to be companions; and at this point in their life, they do not want to be companions.
Many have been kept as moneymakers in massive manufacturing mills despite having no other use. They need a new home in the event that their current owners become unable to care for them due to old age or illness. They were taken to this location by us. We are accountable for ensuring that they are healthy. They have earned the right to spend the rest of their lives in comfort and contentment.
I fear that in the not-too-distant future, we will have no choice but to put the undesired birds to death in the same way that we do with our domesticated cats and dogs. There is a growing awareness among people about the excessive number of cats and dogs.
WE HAVE A DUTY TO RAISE AWARENESS OF THIS CRISIS AMONG THE PUBLIC.
Everyone here is responsible for doing their share to spread the word about what’s going on right now. As I had been anticipating, I just received an email from a local bird club including a flier informing anybody who would be interested that a huge industrial breeder in North Carolina has been diagnosed with cancer and is unable to continue caring for his parrots.
He has made the necessary arrangements to move his animals to Florida in order to sell them at auction. These are not just a few birds, but rather over five hundred huge parrots. It is also said that he has made arrangements with one of the national humane groups in Florida to accept the birds that are not sold via their organisation.
So, what exactly does it imply? Is their facility large enough to accommodate a number of parrots? Particularly breeding couples that are not available for adoption? It’s not likely because, well, who is? Does this imply that the Humane Society would “euthanize” them in a kind and compassionate manner?
Everyone, in every element of this sector, including breeders, has to be made aware of this dilemma of birds whose humans no longer want them or are able to care for them. This includes the situation in which individuals are unable to care for the birds. Bird watchers have a responsibility to take action in these regions; we have a responsibility to educate the general public about this predicament so that they are aware of it.
Someone needs to be made aware that there are rescues teeming with beautiful birds that are looking for homes with people who would care for them. They need to be made aware of the opportunity they have to adopt a bird in need from a rescue organisation so that they do not unwittingly simply go out to the local pet stores and breeders to acquire a bird. The vast majority of people are ignorant, and they aren’t even aware that adoption is a choice they may make.
WE NEED A PUBLIC AWARENESS CAMPAIGN
The majority of us bird breeders are passionate about our birds, breeding, and the care of our young. I am aware that I do, but at what expense? Is it possible that we are robbing a bird in need of a home with every child that we bring into this world? Are we, maybe without our knowledge, the primary contributors to the catastrophe caused by overpopulation?
Breeders, have you given any thought to what would become of your breeding stock if you are unable to care for them? Have you made plans for what will happen to them in the future? Do they have a destination in mind for them?
Someone who would be prepared to look after them for the remainder of their lives? Or will your breeder pairs be sent to a local humane group so that they may be “euthanized in a compassionate manner”? I am curious as to whether or whether this is already a well-kept nasty little secret.
BREEDERS NEED TO BE MORE BENEVOLENT
There are monthly essays on a variety of topics that are authored by specialists and published in avian magazines. A piece highlighting the work that we do in sanctuaries and rescue organisations needs to be published on a consistent monthly basis. It may have been published by a staff writer who highlights different shelters and sanctuaries, or it might have been written by the owner of a shelter.
Articles might be published on a variety of themes, including how the organisation got its start, how to establish your own bird rescue, how the organisation manages its business, how it deals with an inflow of birds, how it cares for its birds, how it raises money, and so on. There is no limit to the topics that might be discussed.
There are times when I come across a little piece here or there, but our rescues and sanctuaries provide a very important function for our sector, and it is about time that they get more recognition. This will assist in informing and educating the general public, and it is hoped that it will also encourage others to get active in the subject of parrot care. We are reliant on the media that serve our sector to provide financial assistance to our homeless shelters.
WE NEED MONTHLY COLUMNS HIGHLIGHTING OUR SHELTERS
One of my close friends runs a non-profit parrot sanctuary here in our community. I inquired of him as to the reason why he does not give lectures on the subject matter at bird clubs and conferences.
He said that he had attempted to do so, but that due to the fact that certain club members are also breeders, they do not want to communicate with him. That just blows my mind! Because the truth is unpleasant, should we simply avoid it? You could find that ignorance is bliss… yet, this is not the case for all of the unwanted birds who get up in shelters.
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