- Why am I interested in adopting a bird?
- Do I have the funds to adopt a bird, provide adequate food, supplies, and potential vet care?
- Do I have room in my house for a bird ... or another one?
- Do I have ample room in my house to quarantine a new bird, if I have others?
- How will my other bird(s) react? Can I handle increased noise in my household?
- Do I have time to spend with a companion parrot, or another one?
If you said "yes" to all of the above, then great! You are ready to visit a local rescue organization to find a parrot companion.
How To Begin The Search
At first the venues for finding that companion can seem overwhelming. Craigslist, Kijjiijii, Hoobly, and your local classified papers are just one place to turn if you are interested in the private adoption of a parrot. Be careful when pursuing these venues, as there are many scams out there. These scams most often offer birds at a "good price" (usually in the range of $400 or less) and boast of the birds having paperwork, being up to date with their veterinary needs, and beg to take the bird into a good home. Most of these scams reveal that funds from you are needed in advance to ship the bird to you. If you come across such a listing; run, don't walk, the other way!
Begin by calling your trusted avian vet or if this is your first bird set up an introductory visit with an avian vet for counsel. Because your vet deals with exotics on a regular basis, chances are they will know of a bird (or animal) currently seeking a new home. Contact them and inquire about any potential adoptees. If you vet doesn't know of a bird that needs a home they may in the near future. Leave your contact information and request they contact you if they hear of a bird that needs a home.
The next step would be to research any avian rescues in your area. Doing a simple web query can point you in the right direction. Pick a rescue as close to you as possible because many rescues require that the adopting family be within 100 miles or less of the organization's home. If you find one (or more) rescues in your area all and inquire about the birds they currently have available. Ask questions about the organization itself. For example:
- How long have they been in operation?
- Are they a nonprofit organization? If no, are they currently applying for nonprofit status?
- What are their adoption qualifications?
- Would they be willing to let you tour the facility where the birds are housed?
- Do they have an avian veterinarian on staff, or on a consult basis, to care for the birds medical needs? What is the vets name? Is the vet qualified or certified to work with exotics?
There are many questions to ask. Use your judgement in selecting the questions you feel need to be asked. Insist on visiting the facility (or foster home, in some cases) where the bird is currently kept so you can see the current conditions of the bird. Sadly, some organizations that parade as rescues are really nothing more then hoarding situations. Fortunately, this is not the norm but is certainly something to be aware of.
Picking the "Right" Bird
If you have found an organization you feel comfortable working with, the next step is to review the birds available. Organizations usually have several (or more) birds that are currently available for adoption. Examine the species and make a list of traits you want in your companion. Visit all the birds currently available. If you feel drawn to a specific bird, visit it multiple times. Does it have the traits you desire in a pet? If the answer is yes, then you can begin to move to the next step, the pre-adoption phase.
Most organizations require a home visit prior to agreeing to adopt out the bird. They want to insure the bird is going to an avian friendly home that can properly care for an exotic. Some organizations require more then one home visit: a home visit prior to the adoption, and one or more visits after the adoption process has started and the bird is in your residence. Depending on the organization, each adoption process will be handled differently. When adopting my birds, I was first required to foster them for a period of time before signing the adoption papers. After I signed, the papers were held for a period of time, after which they were sent to me as confirmation that the birds were legally mine. This was to ensure that the were a good fit in my household. If anything was to arise, I had a "grace period" in which I could return the birds to the organization if I determined that it just would not work out.
Depending on the rescue, each can have varying degrees of requirements which you must abide by to adopt a bird through them. These requirements can be anything from living within a certain driving distance from the organization, to being a cat free household, to having your household be teflon free. Some organizations are more strict in their requirements then others. Can you agree with the adoption requirements set forth by the rescue you have chosen?
If you have found a rescue organization you feel you can work with, congratulations! The number of displaced birds is growing each year and secondhand birds need the "forever" homes, too. We applaud your efforts in bringing an older bird into your home.
Listed below are some resources to aid you in the search for your avian companion.