From: New York Bird Club
October 30, 2008
Many sanctuaries are nothing more than a business only. In the course of several minutes on this board, I have removed links from sanctuaries soliciting their business to people asking for help with their birds. None of the people requesting advice indicated they wanted to give their bird up for adoption. Furthermore, the sanctuaries all have links to breeding sites. For shame on you!
Things to look out for:
BEWARE! Some "Business People" masquerade as bird sanctuaries/ bird rescue organizations. They may have attained non-profit status ($50 bucks and a government form, duly completed, will enable anyone to do so). Don't rely on their fake "educational websites" alone - VISIT THEIR FACILITIES! If you have to make an appointment, you may safely assume that this "rescue & adoption agency" has something to hide.
They obviously need time to "stage" their bird areas for your visit. Another great indicator of a "fake" or bad bird rescue organization is if the only address you find on their website or yellow pages is a post office box number.
They may have attained non-profit status ($50 bucks and a government form, duly completed, will enable anyone to do so). Don't rely on their fake "educational websites" alone - VISIT THEIR FACILITIES! If you have to make an appointment, you may safely assume that this "rescue & adoption agency" has something to hide. They obviously need time to "stage" their bird areas for your visit. Another great indicator of a "fake" or bad bird rescue organization is if the only address you find on their website or yellow pages is a post office box number.If you see the birds permanently caged, if their cages are unreasonably dirty and you don't see extra food dishes for vegetables/fruits and other nutritious food items -- DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES allow them to have your bird. The better rescue organizations will allow the birds to be outside of their cages a good part of the day -- or even BETTER, they provide the birds with their own area in which they are allowed to roam around freely.
The Empty Promise of "Forever Homes" Parrots have a long lifespan and the average parrot changes homes 15 times in his or her life. This may be very sad -- but this is reality. The guardians may get sick or too old to care for them or his life circumstances change. We have to accept that. Some rescue organizations or "rescuers" promise "forever homes." This is a promise nobody can truly keep -and maybe SHOULDN'T KEEP!
It is preferable that people and rescue organizations recognize if they can no longer provide proper care to the birds - rather than hanging on to them NO MATTER WHAT even though the animals are suffering.
Parrots have a long lifespan and the average parrot changes homes 15 times in his or her life. This may be very sad -- but this is reality. The guardians may get sick or too old to care for them or his life circumstances change. We have to accept that. Some rescue organizations or "rescuers" promise "forever homes." It is preferable that people and rescue organizations recognize if they can no longer provide proper care to the birds - rather than hanging on to them NO MATTER WHAT even though the animals are suffering. The fact is that many rescue organizations eventually go out of business. Either they themselves have gotten sick or old and are no longer able to care for birds, or their life circumstances dictate them to give up rescue. Either way, nobody can ever promise a "forever home" not knowing what their own future holds in stock for them.
During your re-homing efforts, you are likely to come in contact with the following:
Hoarders: Bird hoarders tend to be kind, bird-loving people, who are suffering from a mental disorder that predisposes them to collect animals. They are doing it for the right reasons -- their love of the animals, but the more birds they have the less they can properly care for them.
Hoarding - if not intervened - progresses to a point where the hoarder is unable to provide even minimal care -- usually culminating in the death of animals.
Whenever you see a household overrun with cages and/or animals, you are likely to be dealing with a hoarder.
Business People: They may play a great act, promising a wonderful home for your birds with lots of love, best of care -- but don't be fooled. Good food, bird toys and quality bird care come with a price tag that "business people" usually don't want to pay. More often than not, they provide minimal care until the bird either stops producing money-making offspring or is sold at a profit.
These individuals will often masquerade as a bird rescue - in fact, they may even be registered as a non-profit organization (50 bucks and the completion of a government form will get you that). But their primary intention is to get free birds to turn around to sell for profit, to obtain free breeding stock or to simply live off donations without properly caring for the birds.
Who is Who? Hoarders may or may not actively seek birds. They are usually known bird lovers and people just have learned to rely on them to accept unwanted birds into their homes. This being said, if they hear of a bird in need of a home, they are likely to offer themselves as an option.
"Business people" - on the other hand -- frequently respond to classified ads or they actively advertise to receive free birds. They may put it in the context of replacing a beloved pet that died, or "wishing to give a good home to a 'macaw,' 'cockatoo,' 'African grey'." The fact that they are looking to give a home to one specific species - which generally is valuable - is a good indication that they are seeking to make profit - either through reselling the "free" bird or breeding your bird.
Good-hearted people are donating money - and they don't realize that their hard-earned cash may not benefit the birds.
The owner of one registered "non-profit bird rescue organization" summarized it nicely in one sentence:
If they make a living out of caring for pet, it would not be bad while providing loving and quality care to rescues, ensuring lots of mental and physical stimulation, good nutrition and health care. However, if they fail to do that -- they are exploiting these precious birds and misguiding donors.
The reality is that people like that are out there. You may have been paying money trusting their websites, their fundraising mailers - real tear-jerker stories. The reality may look very different. The birds may be provided MINIMAL CARE while the owners are financing their own lifestyle with your donations.
As long as you keep sending them your money, they will have no incentive to discontinue their unethical business. In fact, you might be contributing to the birds being kept in horrible conditions. Once they stop getting your donations, they would get rid of the birds in a heartbeat; and these unfortunate creatures would stand a chance at some quality of life.
It is undeniable that more ethical bird sanctuaries are urgently needed. The markets are flooded with unwanted pet birds, and rescuers are overwhelmed with unwanted pets.
A bird may be better off in a private home than in a sanctuary. A rescue organization, as good (or bad!) as it may be, sometimes cannot give your pet the attention he would be getting as part of a family. This is something to think about and consider. Some birds, however, cannot be rehabilitated. This is a fact of life. They have been damaged beyond repair. Rescue organizations often are their only option. These birds should, however, live in spacious flights, with an as-close-to- natural environment as possible - not caged.
If you are someone who makes donations, there is no point in you paying for bird storage facilities.
Frankly, these birds would be better off dead than lingering in cages their entire life waiting for food to be delivered. There is no quality of life in that. Donations should ONLY be given to those organizations whose first priority is the birds. If you can visit and check out the facilities, please do so ... or do some research on the organization you are interested in donating to. Exotic birds should be provided with foraging opportunities and open space aviaries where they can fly and "something to do".
And never donate to a sanctuary that supports breeding in any way, shape or form.
The following are IMPORTANT indicators that the rescue organization is reputable and provides good care to birds:
A permanent home for a bird is not something to take lightly. Your involvement and doing intelligent research will mean the difference between a good and happy future for your bird, or being bounced around from shelter to shelter, languishing inside a cage for some fifty years, or worse -- being killed through neglect or outright.