Photo by Jamieleigh Location: Coney Island, NY Shown: Aviaries locked with 3 combination locks & chain
We do a number of things to protect our parrots. Recently, I was asked on our youtube account if we worry about having our parrots outside as they could attract thieves. And we've all heard the horror stories of pet parrots being stolen and sold for dirt cheap from desperate people.
Here are some things we do when we're at our home to protect our parrots, while still being able to keep them outdoors...
- Motion lights.
Having motion lights around your home and bird cages can be very helpful in finding out when people are going near your birds, or anywhere they aren't supposed to be. Not only do we have these motion lights that come up when they pick up motion, but all our neighbors have them as well and our neighbors are SUPER light sleepers. In fact, we've woken up to them screaming and chasing down teenage kids who use their backyard as a shortcut to get where they want to go. They're bright enough to get your attention, and usually scare of the intruders just by pinning them in some bright light. It also lights them on to let them know they're on candid camera...
- Video surveillance.
A bit pricey but worth it. Cameras come in all shapes and sizes nowadays and are so easy to hide, mount, and feed into a recording TV. This way you have your own 24 hour surveillance, recorded. So if anyone comes by, you know who it is and what they're intentions are and you have evidence to take to the police. Red recording buttons can be covered and hidden so no one will ever know where your cameras are mounted or hidden (which is why I'm not showing ours) I'd hate to make a layout of everything we have and do just so it can be avoided by someone studying it!
- A sounding alarm.
Most houses have alarm systems and making sure your motion detectors are on, your window sensors are activated and your door openings are activated and nice and loud is never considered over the top. I've set my own alarms off more than once before, and I get the call making sure everything is alright. It's a good feeling... not to set it off, but to have it in place and know that it's working.
- Guard animals.
A friend of mine has guardian dogs, and if you're not familiar with them, they attack anything that isn't supposed to be there. Strangers, kids, other animals, you name it, it's their job to attack it. Not that you have to go that far, but having guard animals is a good thing and nice, big dogs usually scare off most people from intruding your yard or home. I have to admit, our birds holler up a storm the second anything is coming near the fence so we always know if someone is approaching. Some birds are guard animals all by themselves!
- Multiple locks, different combinations.
Lock up your bird cages. Some cages come with locks in place (such as the indoor cages from CagesByDesign.com on the front plexi glass) while others don't. But all our cages (from CagesbyDesign.com) have come with places to be able to put a lock if it hasn't actually come equipped with the lock. Use whatever works best for you. We prefer combination locks because I don't trust myself with a set of keys. Feel free to use more than one, a variety if you will, and different combos for your locks. You can put them on the cage entrance and the entrance to the catch all as well so your doors are locked twice. To take it further you can put two on each, or more. It depends on your needs, really, and your area. If you're lucky enough to work from home just put on there what would give you enough time to get out there and stop someone, or what would deter someone enough to think it's just not worth it.
- Believe in the second amendment.
As horrible as it is to ever think about killing anyone, or even pulling a gun on someone, I'd rather be able to defend myself, my loved ones and my property than never carry a gun, be defenseless and either die from it or watch things around me die... like my parrots. If someone is stealing your parrots, they're desperate and a lot of people will do stupid things when they're desperate. Go get your concealed carry permit, or just go get a gun for home defense. Learn your laws, abide by them and be prepared. Keep it in a safe spot and hope you never have to use it but be ready if you do. And I mean that more mentally than physically. I grew up in Idaho where everyone's got a gun in their home and you know it - because they're pretty much all hunters and you know their aim is damn near perfect. No one robs many houses in Idaho, the crime is pretty darn low because everyone just knows. When you know someone has a gun, you're much less likely to pick a fight with them than the person who boasts about world peace and not owning a gun. Don't boast either way, but be realistic about protecting yourself, your property and your family... that includes your parrots. I'm a small girl, and I feel I'd have little enforcement running out into my backyard telling some bully guy to go home who's breaking into my aviaries to steal my birds and sell them for whatever he can get. But if I have myself defended right, I think I'd have much more of a chance. And so would my parrots.
- Don't make everything public.
No one needs to know how much your parrots cost. When people ask me, I say something like, "They're more expensive to care for than to buy. You can adopt one for nearly nothing but they're soooo much work..." Don't boast about how many you have, or this and that. People don't need to know. It's none of their business. Think about who you're telling things to before you give out information like that.
Keep on any leg bands because they only help identify your parrot later (unless for some medical reason it's bothering your bird) but also make sure you micro-chip your bird. You can get any size bird microchipped and it's a good idea to buy your own reader too. That way you know immediately and aren't waiting on anyone but yourself. Overall, be safe and protect your parrots. They're counting on you to do that for them.
Article by Jamieleigh Womach. She has been working with parrots and toucans since the age of 17. She isn’t homeless but is home less than she prefers to be. She travels the world with her husband, daughter, and a flockful of parrots whom she shares the stage with.