It never ceases to amaze me how destructive we, as humans, are to this planet. My efforts are typically focused on dog rescue, but I have recently become interested in bird rescue and found out the following startling, upsetting and very sad statistics about the sale of birds as pets:
- Prior to 1992 it was a legal and common practice for humans to take many species of parrots from the wild in other countries to be brought here to be kept as pets. Parrots are native to Africa, Australia, Continental Asia, Indonesia, New Zealand, Philippines, and Southwest Pacific. There is no species native to the US. The US native Carolina Parakeet was hunted to extinction by 1939.
- Post 1992, parrots sold as pets in the US are from breeding mills and private breeders.
- Parrots can live from 15 to nearly 100 years depending on the the species. In the wild, parrots are monogamous and become inseparable from their mate for their life. In the wild they live in flocks, are very social, communicative and territorial. They fly many miles a day in the wild.
- Parrots are not domesticated pets like dogs and cats. They are wild animals.
- Parrots DO NOT make good pets! Simply stated, they belong in the wild, NOT in cages in our homes.
- The pet industry has threatened the parrot population, and birds kept as pets cannot be returned to the wild.
As part of my humane education program, visiting both elementary schools and middle schools, I teach students about responsible pet care and respect for nature, among many other topics. At a recent adoption event, my table was next to a bird rescue organization. I was drawn to Jen from No Feather Left Behind Rescue because of her friendly demeanor and the colorful love bird she had at her table. The bird, named Cody had a condition called splay legs which left him unable to stand up and walk. However, he looked quite happy and content in his cozy bed, or cuddled against Jen’s neck.
While planning my 3rd and final visit of the school year to a wonderful 2nd grade class, I asked Jen if she would like to come along. She brought Cody, and another bird or hers named Piko and the kids loved learning about birds. Teaching our younger generations to support bird rescue by adopting a bird and NEVER buying one is an important part of resolving this terrible issue we have created for these majestic, highly intelligent creatures that belong in the wild. The goal is to stop the sale of birds as pets across the US, shut down breeding programs, and provide rescue, adoption and the best loving environment possible for the many birds that have become discarded, unwanted pets by previous owners. Once we have properly cared for the remaining birds in rescue, turned off the breeding faucet and finally all agree that having a parrot as a companion is an awful failed experiment by humans, hopefully the parrot population can continue to thrive and left alone to live their beautiful lives freely.
I sincerely hope this has stirred an interest in you to learn more about this very important animal advocacy topic. The main take away is to PLEASE ADOPT a bird if you want one as a pet, find a reputable rescue group, and NEVER purchase a parrot!! To learn more, I highly recommend watching the documentary Parrot Confidential, available just through a google search. And there is a tremendous amount of information available at http://www.avianwelfare.org
For folks in S. Florida that want to help support bird rescue, contact http://www.nofeatherleftbehind.org
Thanks for caring.