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01.22.14

Polly Want a Home?

When people think of animal shelters being inhabited by homeless animals, dogs and cats are the typically the pets that come to mind. Unfortunately, there are just as many unwanted birds in need of a loving home.  Overrun with the more common pets, like cats and dogs, animal shelters often cannot appropriately cater to these abandoned birds’ needs. This is where bird rescue foundations swoop in to save the day.

“Organizations have taken on this challenge of rescuing unwanted birds and providing forever homes or placing them in pet homes,” said Dr. Jordan Gentry, a veterinary resident instructor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. “Depending on the organization, there may be strict requirements to meet before even being considered as a bird adoption home.”

If you’re contemplating bird adoption, requirements typically include extensive applications, adoption fees, and possible veterinary costs. “Additionally, some organizations only allow adoptions to people within a certain local area,” said Gentry. “Adopting a bird easily costs more, requires more work, and will limit you to only birds that have been given up for adoption; however, sometimes the right bird becomes available and occasionally people meet the requirements of adoption.” Just keep in mind that many relinquished birds could have severe behavioral problems, such as biting and aggression that led to them going into the rescue center in the first place. Make sure you have the right environment for the bird, as well as the time and patience to care for their specific needs.

If you’re willing to accept the challenges and have met the specific requirements, there are several preparations to make prior to Polly’s arrival.  “If you have done your research, you can have the cage set up in advance and take some steps to make your new bird's transition easier,” said Gentry. “Most of the adoption organizations will have plenty of recommendations or requirements before you will be allowed to take the bird home.” And like with your other pets, you should take your new bird in to be seen by a veterinarian within the first seven to ten days in their new environment.

There are various organizations in the United States to find rescued birds in need of a caring home. Located near College Station, there is The National Parrot Rescue & Preservation Foundation, adopting birds in Houston and the surrounding areas. The Gabriel Foundation in Denver, Colorado is another well-known parrot adoption venue. “In addition to these options, pet birds are occasionally available from other venues such as classifieds, Internet forums, or even through A&M Zoological Medicine Service,” said Gentry. “Remember that it is always important to research any bird species you are considering bringing into your home.”

While bird experts and enthusiasts may be the perfect fit for taking home a new winged companion, remember that bird ownership is not for everyone. Adopting a pet bird from a rescue foundation means adopting all of the difficulties previous owners have created in the past, so be sure that you’re willing and able to provide for them. If you do have the time and patience to care for these beautiful creatures, though, then providing them with a forever loving home, and maybe a few crackers, can make both you and Polly very happy.

Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. Stories can be viewed on the Web at vetmed.tamu.edu/news/pet-talk. Suggestions for future topics may be directed to editor@cvm.tamu.edu.



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