Acting on a tip from a neighbor, the Houston SPCA recently seized 1,079 animals from a privately owned Texas property. About 900 of these animals were parrots.
The property owners were breeders, selling to pet stores and, based on shipping materials found on the site, are presumed to have been supplying parrots to private parties directly from their facility. The condition of the cages were described as deplorable and overcrowded and all sported breeding boxes indicating that this was to be an ongoing endeavor for this couple.
If we band together and refuse to support these organizations by NOT purchasing their birds, we WILL eventually put them out of business. In opting to rehome a bird, we support the rescues that are fighting to keep afloat. As parrot lovers, we must support those trying to make a difference.
The birds seized in Texas were sent out to various locations. 73 of these birds will, in the next week, land in the care of Anna Sloan, the owner and operator of the Macaw and Cockatoo Rescue of New Mexico. Close you eyes for a moment and try to imagine what 73 parrots looks like…
- Each of the 73 birds needs to be vetted. This cost, estimated at around $2000, will cover just the health screening of each of the birds and does not include the continued care of any birds that are determined to be ill. Given the background of these birds, that figure is likely to be high. This financial burden can be ruinous to a small organization.
- In most cases, the birds that are in the most dire need of rescue do not land on Anna’s doorstep. She was required to drive to Houston to personally transport all of these birds to her facility in the Albuquerque area. I know of her traveling great distances to retrieve a bird in need, and has covered shipping charges for those beyond her reach.
- The everyday care and upkeep of a huge influx of birds, including caging, food and toys, is a huge drain on the budget. We, owning single or few birds, know the expense of bird supplies. Multiply that number by 73…
- Then, of course, there is the expense of her valuable time. Each bird must be socialized, rehabilitated and converted to a proper diet before they are eligible for placement in a new home.
Assisting Macaw and Cockatoo Rescue of New Mexico is Jill from the Gulf Coast Exotic Bird Sanctuary. Jill, one of the biggest-hearted people I have had the honor to meet, is meeting Anna halfway to Houston and will be taking on a number of the birds at her sanctuary.
Both the Macaw and Cockatoo Rescue of New Mexico and the Gulf Coast Exotic Bird Sanctuary survive solely on financial donation. If you are looking for deserving bird related organizations to contribute to, and I hope you are, these are those I recommend.
Patty Jourgensen specializes in avian health, behavior and nutrition and has been working with and caring for rescue birds since 1987.