There are a lot of big hearted people out there who are just naturally inclined to try to save those in need. I feel similarly. I find it difficult to look away from need even when I know that involvement will make life more complicated for me. I try to do what I can. It’s who I am, and I’m proud of it.
Someone from Austin, the city I lived in before I moved here to Florida, contacted me and asked me if I would speak with a neighbor of his who was having problems with a newly acquired “rescue” bird. I asked the nature of the problems and was told about the biting issues with her new quaker, but more concerning was that the new owner was uncertain if the bird was eating. Birds don’t last long without food, so I agreed to be in touch with her right away.
After a few minutes of discussion, I felt satisfied that her bird was, in fact, eating and we moved on to the other problems.The first behavior related question I asked was regarding the circumstances of the “rescue” because it would likely play a big part in understanding the overall behavior of this bird. As we talked, I learned that the bird had not been “rescued”, but “rehomed”.
There is a considerable difference in the terms rehomed and rescued where is relates to behavioral matters.
The quaker mentioned above came from the household of a friend who simply no longer had the time or interest in seeing to the needs of her bird. This meant that the quaker needed a new home where the environment was enriching and stimulating and it would be a cherished member of the family, not a burden to be tolerated.
In the case of a rescue bird, the word itself speaks clearly. This bird might be in dire and immediate need. It might be in a situtation where it is not being fed, is living in unsafe or unsanitary conditions, or is currently in danger from its environment and perhaps suffering from illness as a result of its hard life.
It’s easy to imagine that the problems that might remain with a rescued bird following placement into a new home could be considerable, and more difficult to assess and manage. The circumstances of your birds arrival into your home must be taken into account when trying to assess a behavioral problem. It is important to establish whether a bird has been rehomed or rescued.
While time might be more essence in the case of a rescue, it is important to add that the bird in need of rehoming should not be considered of less importance. BOTH birds need new homes and the rehomer is doing as big a service to the well-being of their bird as is the rescuer. You should be feel proud of your contribution in helping a bird in need in either case.
Author Patty Jourgensen specializes in avian health, behavior and nutrition and has been working with and caring for rescue birds since 1987.
i rehomes two rainbow lorikeets with severe malnutrition
I have re-homed a 36 yr old Red-Lored Amazon named Bibi. I was looking for about 6 months when I came into the rescue place and when we met it was love at first sight! She immediately called me over to her cage and even the owner and employees remarked that she hadn’t been friendlier. She had handling issues and it took me months before she would step up. She was fine with scratching and I would play a game with her every day I call, feet, wings, cheeks, and beak which would involve touching her feet, wings, etc. while saying each part. She would just look at me and with each day I could feel the trust building. Evenually she would step up and sit with me and we now even take naps together. She took to my son very quickly, though she doesn’t really trust women yet. I tried the stick training but she goes nuts when she sees a stick so maybe it might be a sign of some mistreatment involving them so I don’t use it any more as she trusts my hands now. When I got her, she use to bite and has drawn blood several times but she hardly ever bites anymore and when she does she just does it enough to let you know back off buddy rather than to hurt you. Actually I trust her enough now to let her hold my finger in her mouth which she seems to like to do sometimes, I’m not sure why…maybe it’s her way of letting me know she trusts me enough NOT to bite me anymore.
I just received to re-homed birds, one a Grey and the other a U. cockatoo. The U is wonderful but has screaming issues and the Grey likes to be pet sometimes and other times its beak becomes a buzz saw. I am trying to be patient because I have only had them for about 6 weeks but am losing a lot of blood from the Grey and partially def from the U. screams, so I have a double problem. Any good ideas out there in cyber space?
We found a pair of Sun Conures at our pool, one at the top of a palm tree and the other hiding at the base of the tree. Their wings we clipped so badly that the bird place did not think they could grow their flight feathers back. They do have bands on their legs that that did not help us. They drive us crazy with their screaching but they have become very loving and even cuddle. They both will climb inside out shirts if they can. We thought they needed company and bought a couple of Green Cheek Conures that were 3 months old and were open to being scratched all over and very friendly. Well it seems to us that they learned from the Sun Conures to be standoffish. The Sun Conures do not want anything to do with the Green Cheeks but the Green Cheeks want to be close to and with the Sun Conures. We have sold the Guesthouse in Ft Lauderdale and we all live in a house now and are learning to get along. Thank goodness they go to sleep when we cover them until about 9 AM. I guess the most important thing we have learned is that each bird has its own personality and we have learned how to deal with that. Have a happy New Year everyone.
We have a lot of cockatoos that have been given to us because the owners did not have time to deal with them. They have all adapted well in our environment, but Toos are a special needs bird who adores lots of attention and stimulation, which we give them. We did rescue one Too who was taken in by someone when her boss had a breakdown. She also took in his horses and dogs and knew what to do with them, but not the bird. He was sitting on the floor in an unkept cage because she was afraid of him and the dogs would taunt him. That was a rescue. We ultimately found a good home for him in about a year, as he was our tipping point in the balance of providing enough attention to all the birds (we have a total of 16). When anyone is in charge of a bird’s life, whether rescued or rehomed, we as pet owners have a responsibility to provide whatever the bird needs for life. Period.
Our 40 year old sulphur crested cocatoo, Rocky, came to us after his owner died. He spent a stint with his owner’s grandson in a shared household where he was tormented and tortured with sticks. As a result of grief and stress he developed a number of repetitive neurotic behaviors along with a serious feather plucking habit. He was also the most vicious bird I have ever met and he was intent upon causing serious harm to any and all humans he could get his beak near. After contemplating euthanasia as perhaps the kindest option, we brought Rocky into our flock determined to do all we could to try to rehabilitate him. Thank goodness we did! Fast forward three years and Rocky is the sweetest, most affectionate and engaging cockatoo you could imagine. He loves both me and my husband and can be handled safely by anyone. He gets on with the rest of the flock (usual jealously notwithstanding!) and is gentle with our dogs and our other rescue animals. His feather plucking is intractable but all other signs of his previous trauma have gone. He may not be the prettiest bird but he makes up with it with personality plus. We love him to death and I shudder to think we ever considered euthanasia. Here’s a photo of our gorgeous boy: http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l198/birdbuddie/Welcome%20to%20the%20zoo/e4f72a4b.jpg It’s great to read all these stories and to know there are likeminded people out there willing to help our poor, mistreated feathered friends. It’s a shame so many people enter into bird ownership without the requisite knowledge and skills.
Oh, so many stories! I have an African Grey rehomed (with attitude! her fav word was ‘what-ev-er’ when we got her); a Yellow Crested Amazon who is a rescue — so sweet to me, but a swooping attach engine to anyone or anything else; and an Umbrella Too that was raised like a puppy by 2 young boys, until he was sexually mature — and you can imagine the chaos when that time came! Each one is totally different and requires different treatment. It’s not about ‘fair’ and who got a treat when, or who has the most toys, or who got held the most. It’s all about ‘need’. Each day is a challenge. The Too has to be moved to a dark room every day around 11 am for a nappy time. OR he screams most of the day, just like a 2 yr old child who is over stimulated. The Grey talks non-stop like a 14 yr old teen girl, and the Amazon is a shy, loving little quiet thing that breaks into operatic arias when he is showered! What a blessing that we have them all. Such challenges. Each a unique individual. I feel blessed (and cursed on occasion) but life is never dull!
We have a bird that was BOTH rescued and rehomed. First she was rescued, then rehabbed and recently rehomed to our home. She still displays some self-mutilation behaviors but we’re working on that with lots of patience, understanding and distraction.
Missi, You are so right. The black cap kind of gives it away! Thanks for the call out. Patty
I HAVE FIVE BIRDS THAT, ARE ALWAYS LOVED AND CARED FOR. EVERY TIME I TRY TO GAIN ANOTHER BIRD, REHOME OR RESCUED, THE PEOPLE ALWAYS WANT A FEE OF $50.00 TO $150.00…. BEING ON SSI INCOME, YOU CANNOT EFFORD THAT AMOUNT. I DO HAVE A BIRD THAT I RESCUED BACK IN 2001. I’VE HAD HIM EVER SENCE. ALL MY BIRDS ARE VERY HEALTHY AND VERY MUCH LOVED……..
i have always wanted an exotic bird, but couldn’t justify the price with having 4 kids and ending up on disability. i have a rescue/rehomed muloccan cockatoo.. i didn’t realize how big she was compared to other parrot types until i went to have her groomed. i think she’s a big bird to learn with, but i love her to death. it took her awhile to get used to me… but she would cuddle with any man that walked into the house. i usually have to keep her locked up if a female is here..especially if they r my sons girlfriend’s! my problem is how unpredictable she is… she will be loving and wanting to be petted, then for no reason will turn and bite me..usually on my feet. i am diabetic and worry some day the damage will be too extensive. also, from everything i’ve read, she’s not a typical cockatoo…she doesn’t like toys,nuts or most treats, and prefers cardboard to rip as opposed to wood.she is very strong willed and is almost like carring for a 3 year old child! she doesn’t like to play games that i read they are fond of. i have had her for 3 years.. any suggestions?
i have rehomed electus who is going to be 2 years old in february but she still is shy and afraid to be held, wants out of her cage but she won’t follow commands to step up i have gotten your cd’s but i have not been successful with the training.roseanne
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