Saturday, November 7, 2009

Happy Endings

So often I hear people say that they do not feel they have enough experience to adopt a parrot. This, to me, is one of the saddest myths perpetuated. Perhaps because of the term "rescue", perhaps because of poor taming, training and home transition advice, perhaps simply because baby parrots are so cute, but for whatever the reason, rehomed parrots are seen as being far more time consuming than getting a baby parrot.

When considering buying a baby parrot, it is important to remember many things. One, baby parrots are almost always going to "choose" everyone that picks them up. They are cute, adorable, and fluffy little guys that can gain control of your very senses with just one soulful gaze. However, even with the very best care taken to raise them as well socialized, "perfect" parrots, you will hit problems. If you are prepared for these problems, and are committed to continually changing and adapting to keep potential problems at bay, aware that hormones will come and that your relationship will not stay the same forever, you may not really notice any major issues. Unfortunately, you also have to deal with your parrot's adult temperament; the sweetest babies can grow up to be extremely difficult adults, regardless of all the perfect care they have received.

When rehoming a parrot, it is important to recognize how much you feel you can reasonably handle. Most parrots needing a home are not rescues, but simply rehomes- parrots that can no longer stay in their current home for whatever reason. Most are very happy, friendly, well socialized and well adjusted companions. Given some time to re-adjust to their new home, they will show themselves to be wonderful parrots, beyond the hormonal teenage stage and well settled into their adult temperament.

Rescues, as the term implies, are a different story from rehomes. There are varying degrees of rescues. Some come from poor conditions, but were never very abused, perhaps neglected, and quickly adjust to their new home if their new family takes care to allow them to adjust and works to gain their trust at the parrot's pace. I believe this is the majority of rescues, and though you do have to be prepared to go slower than you would with a well adjusted rehome or baby parrot, they are still not too hard for anyone with patience, time, and understanding. The most difficult category of rescues are true rescues, those not only from poor conditions, but also sorely abused. These parrots should only be taken on by those either with experience dealing with such parrots, or by those with lots and lots of patience, time, understanding of the parrot and of how to tame them, as well as a positive outlook and the ability to keep all stress from entering their relationship with the parrot.

While it is very important never to embark on a mission to help a parrot if you are not fully prepared for anything they throw at you, I believe this applies just as much, if not more so, to baby parrots, perhaps simply because they seem so innocent. As long as you are careful to truthfully reason how much patience, time, and ability you have, and find a rehome that fits with this, it is one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling undertakings. If you are unsure of how to find this perfect parrot, or even of how much you can handle, I always recommend going through a reputable rescue.

To show that you do not have to be an internationally accredited bird whisperer to help a parrot needing a home, I am starting a compilation of "Happy Endings", stories of parrots, from rehomes to tragic rescues and everything in between, that transitioned happily into their new homes. If you have a story you would like to share, please feel free to email it to me!

Tito, Vosmaeri Eclectus, adopted by Maria

Paco, Solomon Island Eclectus, adopted by Jude

Tilly, Peach-Faced Lovebird

Kito, Congo African Grey, adopted by Dawn

Kiwi, Eclectus, fostered by Dawn


Stephanie said...

Thank you so much for this post. We have a rehomed Timneh grey and you have never met a more well-adjusted bird. I feel so lucky to have found him. Though I had a small amount of parrot experience, he is the first larger parrot I've lived with in my own home.

When we first brought him home, I was very active on the internet and on one forum in particular. I was dismayed to see that most forum members actively discouraged prospective grey owners from even considering a rehomed bird. Not only that but they scared people about the possibility! This was really discouraging as it was coming from a community that is generally very concerned and caring. When I said something in favor of choosing a rehomed bird, people were offended and felt I was either criticizing their choice or disparaging their "advice." There's just so much misinformation!

This post says exactly what I never said but wished that I could.

Meg said...

You have no idea how much I appreciate your post! I am so glad you had such a positive experience with your grey.

I can understand your frustration; the sentiments on your forum seem to be much the same across most of the Bird World. It is a never ending battle to convince people that rehoming is just as easy as getting a baby, in fact, it is often easier in the long run. Regardless of whether you are a breeder or support breeders, baby parrots should not be seen as the option for inexperienced homes, or homes without as much patience or time.

I would love for you to write up your grey's story for my blog if you ever have time; there is a link to email me on my profile if you would like to write it!

Mary said...

Meg, another wonderful post. I've seen so many great matches made when the bird was in their teens or older.

I know a woman with 4 parrots -- 3 she got as babies and one she adopted in her teens. The only bird she can handle now? The one she got when the bird was in her teens.

I think baby birds lull people into a false sense of security and that's why we see so many parrots in rescue that are 3-5 years old. It's maddening.

In any case, thanks, as always for helping to spread the word!

Anonymous said...

I have two rehomed olde birds...a white cap pionus and a timneh grey.....i love them both:) rescue rehomed birds are the way to go:)They are so well behaved!

Meg said...

It really is a very rewarding experience! Sounds like you have a very nice pair, I just love pionus, they are so sweet.