Speaking For Parrots

Parrots need your voice

Calling On Dog and Cat Advocates: Parrots Need Your Help, Too.

Last year, I was taken to a “parrot party,” which was a gathering of parrot people, speakers and vendors. Also there, were a couple of tables set up for dog and cat rescues. I started chatting with one of the volunteers at a dog rescue. As we discussed the similarity of the needs of dog and parrot rescue, the over-population problems, lack of suitable homes, and bird/puppy mills, she mentioned how much she loved the vet who was having the gathering. I asked her if she knew that this vet was also a parrot breeder, to which she said, yes.

clubb-aviaries-3

One of the enclosures that is in a public area of the vet’s property. The breeding birds are kept in a secured area, away from the public eye. Notice the lack of enrichment in this cage, among other things.

So, I asked why she could be so critical of dog breeders, but not apply the same to bird breeders. She looked at me like I had three heads, and changed the subject as soon as she could. At that moment, something became completely clear to me. Many dog and cat rescue people aren’t onboard with the plight of unwanted, homeless, neglected and abused parrots. Somehow, they don’t see the suffering of parrots like they do mammals.

Let me be clear, this post is not about that vet/breeder, although I anticipate some might make it into that (if there are comments with regard to that, I probably won’t approve them, although I will consider them on a comment-to-comment basis). This is about the disconnect dog and cat people have regarding birds.

After thinking about that conversation with the dog rescue volunteer, I remembered that it wasn’t the first time I was confronted with this. I was at an event with a dog rescue, and was introduced to a man from another dog rescue. It was mentioned to him that I work with parrots, so he told me he was good friends with a woman who also works with parrots. That woman I know to be a bird breeder and a bird flipper.

As an aside, a flipper is a broker, and Howard Voren perfectly described what brokers do in the HSUS article, “No Fly Zone:

“The old breeder parrots are sold at auction. ‘When a pair reaches the end of their productivity [they no longer can bear offspring, i.e., generate income], they go to a broker,’ he [Voren] says, ‘to be sold to other breeders. Only not with my name on them.’” [i.e., a scam].

HV Enclosures Nandays

Voren’s aviaries, still in operation even after his death where hundreds of parrots are bred for big-box pet stores. Voren, along with Rick Jordan, literally wrote the book on breeding parrots, a go-to reference for most breeders and wannabees. The conures pictured here have very little head room, barely room to stretch out their wings, one perch, and a nest box. (Photo from HSUS, “No Fly Zone”)

 

Perhaps dog and cat rescue people don’t understand what a bird flipper does, but certainly something should connect when they hear “bird breeder.” Parrot breeders, like so many other animal breeders, do not have the best interest for the birds in their charge, and compromise their health and well-being with their bottom line, their profit. These are the same problems with cats and dogs, but there are other issues that complicate the problems involving parrots.

Parrot advocates face a strong, well-run propaganda machine, the American Federation of Aviculture, that spreads misinformation in order to continue breeding parrots, and gain support from the general public.  What sets parrots apart from dogs and cats is that they are not domesticated, and are wild animals, like chimps, tigers and dolphins. They are also endangered, some critically, so one of the lies told by parrot breeders (also known as aviculturists) is that they are part of the conservation effort to save parrots by breeding them for the pet trade. Nothing could be further from the truth. Any contribution to the pet trade makes them a desirable “commodity,” subject to the impulses and trends of supply and demand. No other endangered species are traded in such ways, and no true conservationist would consider the pet trade as anything but exploitive and harmful for the long-term outlook of parrot species.

Another lie disseminated by parrot breeders is that there is no captive over-population problem. This campaign has been so successful, it’s been adopted by aviculturists in countries outside of the US. Some of these are EU countries, South Africa, and in particular, Australia, where breeders say they don’t have the same problems we see in the US. However, not only does Australia have a parrot over-population problem, they have too few rescues and sanctuaries where unwanted birds can go. Instead, parrots languish in small cages in people’s driveways because their care became too difficult. To add to this denial of any problems, American aviculturists blame rescues and sanctuaries for overflowing with parrots because they are too strict in adopting out. Perhaps if they applied stricter criteria for their buyers, parrots wouldn’t see multiple homes in one lifetime. The HSUS states that, “The average pet parrot will go through seven homes in the first 10 years of her life.” I don’t know how they came to those numbers, but I do know after 20+ years of working with parrots, most will have several homes in one lifetime. And another…. the problem isn’t too many birds, it’s too few homes.

Huh?

Yup, that’s right, Jamie Whittaker, president of The American Federation of Aviculture (AFA) said in an article in The Dodo titled, “It’s Time To Admit Birds Shouldn’t Be Kept In Cages” (no longer available, but saved to my hard drive): 

“Jamie Whittaker…believes more households with pet birds would be beneficial. ‘The problem appears to be less an issue of too many birds than it is an issue of too few homes with birds,’ she told The Dodo…This is why, Whittaker says, AFA supports breeding birds: ‘There simply are not enough of them for the world to enjoy.'”

If it were true that there aren’t enough parrots for the world to enjoy, then there wouldn’t be “too few homes” (insert face-palm).

So, the reason for writing this is to reach out to dog, cat and any other rescue people, and anyone else wanting to help animals, to apply the same criticisms to bird breeders as they do other breeders. Don’t support bird breeders, and help us educate the public on parrot issues, the third most popular “pet” in the US. Many of us crazy bird people are also involved in dog and cat advocacy, and would never promote a dog or cat breeder in any way, regardless of what else they do. A breeder is a breeder. Period.

Don’t Shop, Adopt.

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57 comments on “Calling On Dog and Cat Advocates: Parrots Need Your Help, Too.

  1. carol gelfand
    October 18, 2016

    owning a bird is a lot more work than owning a dog or cat. owning a dog and cat is a lot of work if you care for them properly i think many people become attached to bird they own but become overwhelmed with the daily clean up,the noise, specialized food and time and attention needed for owning a bird. walk in any pet store and there are shelves and shelves of specially cat and dog foods. birds don’t have this unless you just put them on a plain bird mix sold in pet stores and then they are not healthy and have a very short life span. birds bite. dogs and cats bite. the shelters are full of dogs and cats that bite. dogs and cats probably have a good reason for biting but a bird bites because it is angry for a moment , something scared him or is trying to tell you something or maybe just feels like playing rough. birds have a very long life span. people get bored and want to move on and really don’t care if it bothers the birds so they dump it. many responsible bird owners are seniors. they laugh and say the bird is willed to my kids when i die. the first thing the kids do is dump the bird at any shelter that will take it after the demise of parrot owner parent. cats and dogs live about 15 years. shelters are full of senior pets dumped their by children of deceased dog and cat owners.

    a lot of people are always asking to friend me on Facebook since i post a ton of environmental, animal, bird videos and photos. i alway check out who they are first but am not always successful. am so saddened when i see the tons of african greys in cages piled on top of each other being sold in african market places. many people are responsible bird owners and sometimes life circumstances overwhelm them and they end up in hospice and can’t even care for themselves let alone any pet. when any animal moves into my home they never leave since they then become part of the family no matter what problems they have. anyway i am rambling so forgive me. i think its ok to breed if you are not doing it for profit but to help a species by building a better genetic line. flippers and breeding for profit suck.

    • sharon tompkins
      October 19, 2016

      great article. birds are a flock animal, they need people or another bird to interact with constantly. I also take in birds that people no longer want. they are just as loving as a dog or cat, you just have to treat them like you have a 2 yr old for the 50 yrs of their life. amazing how many people have no idea how to care for a bird, they just think they are beautiful, so they want one and then know nothing about their care and as a result the bird gets passed around and around.

      • Shari Mirojnick
        October 19, 2016

        …. and around.

      • Tom
        November 1, 2016

        Listen. Same way we can say people have no idea how to take care of children so we should ban having children. Unfortunately for pets there are many more restriction than for having children thats why they are being rehomed. I have been around Birds for years. They do adapt to new owners quickly as long as you match proper specie with proper owners. I do accept unwanted birds and have no problems finding right homes. As to breeding there are species of birds going extinct almost daily and captive breeding is the only way to preserve them.

      • Shari Mirojnick
        November 1, 2016

        I’m not sure why you started your comment with, “Listen,” but it seems like you’re going to tell us a thing or two.

        There’s a difference in captive breeding for conservation with a scientific protocol that involves breeding, reintroduction, habitat restoration, and community education, and letting anyone get a pair of parrots and breed them for the pet trade. You can’t save a species if its placed on the free market and at the whim of supply and demand. Conservation projects protect fragile gene pools, and aviculturists inbreed for color mutation. There isn’t one facet of breeding endangered species for the pet trade that has any conservation merit. In fact, it’s a detriment to conservation, and that’s why we don’t do it with any other endangered species.

        I don’t know what it is that you do or for how many years you’ve “been around” birds that gives you such an air of authority, but this isn’t about birds adapting quickly or not to new homes, but about the over-population problem of an animal that is not a domesticated “pet” and an endangered species. It’s about me as a parrot advocate reaching out to others who advocate for other animals, that it would be so helpful if they applied their dog and cat beliefs to parrots, as well. If you’re against dog and cat breeders and mills mills, don’t support a vet, or postal carrier, or mother, or school teacher who also happens to be a parrot breeder or mill.

        Regarding your assertion that “there are species of birds going extinct almost daily….” perhaps you should read this excerpt from BirdLife International:

        “At least 140 bird species are believed to have become extinct since 1500. Avian extinctions are continuing, with 19 species lost in the last quarter of the twentieth century and three more known or suspected to have gone extinct since 2000.” http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/sowb/casestudy/102

        My point in citing that is not to downplay the crisis we are seeing of the threats for extinctions, but that your credibility is about nil when you start out with “Listen,” and end with an assertion that has no basis in fact.

  2. Lila Lou
    October 19, 2016

    They these sick people in the media

  3. Ivy
    October 19, 2016

    Birds are wonderful companions. All must be done to protect them. There are few things sadder than a neglected bird in a cage.

  4. beejaymeade
    October 19, 2016

    I’ve befriended some cat and dog rescue people and when they hear that I’ve worked with parrots, they always, always always want to introduce to to their friends who have “raised parrots for years”. I wonder how they’d react if I wanted to introduce them to any friend of mine who had “raised puppies for years”?

    • Shari Mirojnick
      October 19, 2016

      Do you have any insight into why this is? I’m at a total loss.

  5. Brenda Richard Milligan
    October 20, 2016

    The problem is they keep breeding parrots that live 80 plus years, and people toss them out like a piece of clothing. I figured this one out three years ago when I rescued a male cockatoo that sat at Iowa Parrot Rescue for almost a year. Since then we have rescues a couple more cockatoos and each one has their story from inside their previous cage. Was their diet correct and were they given water? Feeding them is another issue as many people still think they need seed instead of pellets with fresh fruit and vegetables with nuts in the shell. Vet bills are over the top for parrots and many vets say they are avian vets….and you end up paying a dog or cat vet to guess on your bird. Please check out Iowa Parrot Rescue as my thoughts are this one is the best in the US and has been in Bird magazines, fully functions on donations and is inspected by the state. Two of my cockatoo’s came from there and he is strict on his rules, you sign a contract that you will not breed them, if your life changes and no longer can take care of them they go back to the rescue. A household also has guidelines you have to meet to adopt and their is no cost…you can do a donation. Not many rescues do this as they acquire the 503 and do the paperwork as a charity…but attempt to make money as they flip the birds. My first red flag of a rescue is when they receive a parrot with a proper cage and they take that bird out of that cage and sell the cage for profit, then charge a fee for the bird and that poor bird is tossed into another venture in their lifetime. Many are flipped several times because they are wild animals who should be out in the wild….and humans decide they need to live in a cage in our houses.

    • Shari Mirojnick
      October 20, 2016

      How funny that I read this while wearing my tye-dyed IPR t-shirt!

      Yes, some rescues have turned into flippers, themselves. It’s all the more reason to have more regulation protecting parrots, no matter if an entity is for profit or nonprofit.

      I don’t know what species of cockatoos you have, but only a few can have an eighty-year lifespan. The sad thing is, regardless of lifespan, most parrots in captivity will not reach old age. I have a previous blog post discussing this issue. Because of this, (among many other things) I can’t see how anyone can defend the idea that parrots, their entire Order benefits from captivity.

      Thank you for making those cockatoos members of your family. They can be the hardest to place, suffering the most emotional damage.

  6. Jean Pattison
    October 20, 2016

    What breeder do you know that lectured at Golden Cockatoo about Cape parrots, as a fund raiser for the conservation of the Cape Parrot in S. Africa. Don’t tell me breeders don’t contribute to conservation. And as a breeder, in the picture above, the conures with little head room, are not in their cage, they are in the food access, which is attached to their flight cage. Made so their food stays clean. So unfortunate that there is so much misinformation reported by people that don’t know the ins and outs of breeding birds. Most assume what they see in pictures, but don’t really know. And referencing an H$U$ article which took many comments out of context, and twisted words, (which it usually does) is really surprising that you would use them.

    According to Charity Navigator, the HSUS pays out zero dollars to their affiliates. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nothing. They pay lobbyists to lobby against even owning animals.

    • Shari Mirojnick
      October 20, 2016

      I reread what I wrote about breeders and conservation, and the words I chose don’t say what I mean. I edited it to read, “….is that [breeders think] they are part of the conservation effort to save parrots as species by breeding them for the pet trade.” The part about breeding for the pet trade as conservation isn’t the truth. It was not meant to imply that breeders don’t do things like you have done, i.e., raise money for conservation projects, but in the end, breeders do more harm than good. Putting parrots onto the free market makes them into a commodity, and that is controlled by profits, supply and demand, and economic fluctuations. That is not conducive to the long-term survival of any endangered species. You and I have been on the same threads where breeders throw out that “breeding-for-the-pet-trade-is-conservation” line, so with this clarification, I hope it is now clear as to my point.

      As for Howard Voren, I knew Howard, and I know people who knew him well, for many years. Howard never denied anything that was credited to him in that article. In fact, the only statement he gave regarding the article was that he knew all along it might be a “set-up,” so he figured it would be best for the author, Charles Bergman to see his facility. He mentioned that some things were out of context, but didn’t elaborate, and defended his whole operation by saying that all his babies were clean, as were the bins they were in. Clap…….clap. The one thing that convinces me, and anyone who knew Howard, is that there is no way Bergman could have made up the quotes attributed to Howard. Those words, from his diminishing comment about fat women in polyester to his egotism that he was the pioneer and pioneers take all the arrows, are ALL classic Howard Voren,.

      Regarding the conure caging, I don’t think you’re seeing it right. I’m not sure why you wouldn’t think they are as small as they are, because breeders like Howard, Tony Silva, Rick Jordan, and you have published books on breeding and care that give caging sizes that aren’t all that big. So,if you look at the end cage, you can see the nest box in the back. You can see the path between that row of caging, and the next, and so on. Then, if you look at the second cage in from the end, you will see two birds. Look above them and to the left, you will see another two. Those cages are stacked, like bricks, one row on top of the other. There are no flights there. But let’s say there were flights. Where is the enrichment? Do they only get to procreate, lay eggs and then have Howard (or whomever is running the mill today) take the eggs away? What kind of life is that? And for what? So someone can walk into a Petco and buy a sun or nanday conure? Probably where we differ is, I believe those parents in those cages pay too high a price for our wants and desires.

    • Debbie Goodrich
      October 19, 2017

      Go Jean! Here! Here! Okay, Shari, where exactly does money come from when you have a parrot? Where can you send it to save it? How does breeding a parrot as a pet today help a parrot for it’s future?
      1. We learn how parrots breed, feed, nest and more ecology than we know currently in the wild. Most of the ecology in the wild and known natural history of parrot species is less than 30% for most species. This includes the range they require when not breeding. (BirdLife International, look it up)
      2. When we breed parrots for pets, the money is exchanged for the pet. The breeder can then breed more for pets, more genetics is dispersed. The wild population of sun conures, mostly do to our catching them relentlessly before the Wild Bird Conservation Act of 1992, caused their wild population to collapse. However, we are not poaching said species nor seeing trade of said species anywhere near the numbers we saw with over 80% reduction in poaching. Yet, said species is still collapsing. In comes pet sun conures. Take pet conures to the wild, which the Smithsonian is doing, and breed them with parrots captured locally, spend a few generations of parent raising only and then release, you now have enough genetic dispersal to keep sun conures genetically viable.
      3. How else is someone who has a species that is breeding well in captivity but doing poorly in the wild going to be financed? Through you giving them money to not sell any of them as pets? Why not? If you can afford to keep a flock of 2,000 sun conures genetically viable, go for it.
      4. Sun conures are critically endangered in the wild. Just so you know.
      5. Scarlet macaws, according to BirdLife International, however, are Threatened. Greenwing Macaws, least Concern. For example.
      6. How do you think we know what a adult parrot of the wild needs in the way of conservation of it’s lands when we cannot tell what is going on in chick development like we can in captivity?
      7. How do we know what kind of artifiical nest is successful when we knock all the trees down?
      8. Who contributes the most to NGO’s and parrot conservation projects (in situ conservation)? Zoos? YA RIGHT. Government? FAR CRY. It’s PRIVATE BREEDERS and PARROT OWNERS!! Shari, how much did you give to help save wild parrots vs. attacking breeding parrots? I know I’ve given a couple grand every year but won’t give a penny to HSUS, PETA or anyone or organization that believes in any of their charters…
      9. Which brings me to this…did you think the release of Keiko the whale was a good thing for Keiko as in for his welfare his personal desire of what he showed he wanted? That he wanted to die alone following a boat? That is what HSUS believes. No orca in the wild dies alone ever. No male orca dies alone ever and he was found soliciting touching from people in Norway….so you tell me what an organization like that feels about real Welfare. Certainly cared not for that animal which means they don’t care about parrots, either. Do you think orcas are sincerely better off in seapens where the water is often rancid, causing our own native population to stop breeding and are now all dying off because it’s too poluted? Really???? For an animal who has never been exposed to said waters and was born in captivity to be forced to that environment? Don’t think so.

      • Shari Mirojnick
        December 24, 2017

        More gobbledygook. Why do you and your fellow travelers always bring up HSUS and PETA? There is nothing in my writing that says I do or don’t support those organizations, only using information when needed. I have no idea what the heck you’re talking about with regard to orcas, and I certainly never said, nor do I espouse freeing captive companion parrots. And honestly, I don’t know WTH your point is in all of this? If it’s that breeders are responsible for understanding the breeding of parrots, and only they can help conservationists to be successful, then I know a few conservationists who would disagree with that. I don’t know too many scientists who believe that pet parrot breeders do anything with regard to genetics, other than screw up the gene pool by breeding for mutation or hybridization.

        Face it, captive breeding for the pet trade hasn’t helped parrots in the wild. Their decreasing populations are proof of that. The answer is to teach the next generations to love parrots for who they are, wild animals, and care for their habitats. But first, people like you need to be refuted for all the misinformation and meandering, long-winded diatribes. I’m sorry to be so critical, but what you do is counter to benefiting parrots in captivity and the wild.

        I know one of your misguided assumptions is that people only care about animals they can touch and keep. Having parrots in our homes makes people care for wild parrots. So let me ask you: how’s that orca in your backyard?

  7. Beth
    October 21, 2016

    Any species of birds and reptiles should not allowed to be pets period! For all the reasons you states in the article. If people stopped destroying animal natural habitats and hunting them for sport we wouldn’t need conservation. I rescued a Mollacan Cockatoo 7 years ago. He has been through 11 homes by the time he was 7 years old. The reason being He screamed constantly to get attention. When he was given attention and you went to put him back in his cage. He would bite the shit out of who ever was tring to put him back in his cage. My fear if he out Lives me will he find someone who will understand, love and care for him as I do. It is just not right when we as human beings can stop this, but greed wins. It is so sad and breaks my heart how we treat all animals on this planet.

    • Shari Mirojnick
      October 21, 2016

      I don’t envy your position. I’ve been bitten by all kinds of parrots countless numbers of times. I always say that the last bite I want is from a male umbrella or Moluccan cockatoo. It’s not the biting that makes me say I don’t envy your position, it’s your worry about where he will go should something happen to you.

      I’m so glad you brought up the issues of habitat destruction, because rather than tackle that, breeders would just assume say there’s nothing that can be done, so breeding for the pet trade is necessary to save parrots. Yes, it’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater, and it needs to be said that it will only be too late, if we adopt that kind of thinking.

      Thank you for sharing.

    • Debbie Goodrich
      October 19, 2017

      And your living with that Moluccan will be illegal. If you state a statement like you just did. Then, where is that Moluccan going to go if we make it illegal, right now, for that moluccan to be owned by you? Don’t forget, they live longer than the life it’s already lead. Because you can’t own one, you will not be allowed. Also, if he is biting you like that, you are not working in a way that is most positive and least intrusive. Don’t forget, protected contact training works and works well. It has nothing to do with greed and everything to do with learning. We cannot learn if we do not experience. Period.

      • Shari Mirojnick
        December 24, 2017

        What should become illegal is the breeding of wild animals for the pet trade. I doubt this person really thinks it’s a good idea to make the living, breathing wild animals already in captivity illegal without protecting them. How would that be in their benefit, and that’s the one thing we can all agree on.

        I think you have gall to assume that Beth is somehow doing something wrong that causes the behavior exhibited in her Moluccan. And training wild animals isn’t like training domesticated ones. People like you like to harp on the successes, but most of the time, the wares being sold as parrot training doesn’t work. It’s not the fault of the people, it’s captivity that makes them psychologically damaged, just like other wild animals. Accusing people of doing things wrongly, particularly without knowing the situation, is damaging and unfair.

  8. Zazu
    October 21, 2016

    I also find that the difference is that cats and dogs are meant to be companion animals for human beings. Birds aren’t. They should not be pets and need to be in the wild. Breeding and selling birds (and many other living creatures) should be illegal. Period.

    • carol gelfand
      October 21, 2016

      hey Zazu did you used to be on bird channel. i recognize the name

    • Debbie Goodrich
      October 19, 2017

      Sad you feel that way, because, period, parrots are disappearing from the wild. No, not because of pets, because of agriculture and our inability to control our population growth. Period. So, you want parrots to only be wild? There is not going to be a wild in the not-far future. Even more so if we eliminate and make it illegal to see a parrot in captivity, that is exactly what you suggest by your comment, Zazu.

      • Shari Mirojnick
        December 24, 2017

        You’re throwing away the baby with the bath water because that’s what suits you. You want parrots in captivity because that’s your desire. If we want to, we can put aside habitat, rehab habitat, and protect the animals living there if we want to. If it were as hopeless as you describe, then conservationist would be taking all parrots, like Capes, Imperial Amazons, etc out of the wild. Instead, they’re planting trees, getting the locals involved, and educating people. They don’t encourage pet parrots.

  9. yvonne pruett
    October 24, 2016

    parrots make excellent and loving pets. I haven’t seen this over-population problem where I am. I rarely see parrots for sale. People give their birds to rescue not because they can’t find homes for them or the market is flooded with birds, but it’s easier to give them to a rescue that will screen customers than to deal with it themselves. It’s odd to me that people who bad mouth keeping parrots as pets always seem to have a house full themselves. I suppose the only way they can feel it’s okay for them to own parrots is to convince themselves they are “saving” parrots. I haven’t figured out who or what they are rescuing or saving these parrots from.

    • Shari Mirojnick
      October 24, 2016

      I can understand you saying this from personal experience, but that doesn’t mean that all the issues I’ve raised aren’t true. It just means that you aren’t aware of them. If there’s one thing that might convince you otherwise regarding people giving their parrots to rescues because it’s easier that way, peruse Craigslist. There are plenty of parrots listed who are unwanted, but for sale. There are also many breeders on there selling parrots, regardless of it being against Craigslist’s terms of use.

      I don’t know where you live, but I can go to any Petco, Petsmart, Pet Supermarket, or Petland and buy a parrot. I can go to Google and search a species and “for sale,” and there will be all kinds of hits. It’s so easy to get parrots, that I can go right now to a small bird shop and buy rare, Appendix I and/or ESA-listed parrots like hyacinth macaw, blue-throated macaw, golden conure, blue-throated conure (yup), vinaceous Amazon, and several others, without any problem.

      I think you’re being very unfair by criticizing people who take in unwanted parrots. Even if it’s not for altruistic purposes, at least it gives a parrot a home.

      If you don’t know who we are saving these parrots from, I can only say that you are willfully ignorant. I personally can give you the stories of my own parrots, others I have rescued and placed, and the parrots who came into a large rescue where I worked. I can also put you in touch with people who do rescue, but somehow I don’t think you’d be willing to see the problem. I don’t think it’s people who rescue who rationalize, but the people who want to continue keeping parrots as pets for their own needs and desires. Because there really is a problem regarding too few homes (as stated by the president of AFA), and because there are so many parrots with problems, people who want to continue the practice can only deny that any of it exists. That kind of makes more sense, don’t you think.

    • Brenda Milligan
      October 24, 2016

      Try to figure out why people choose miniature chickens and reptiles in their homes as pets. This is not just a Parrot issue. The sad part about parrots is avian vets are not plentiful and everyone has there own idea on what they should eat. My thoughts are people attempt to make money from them an you can look at the ARL in a large city and how they turn strays into profit.

      • Shari Mirojnick
        October 24, 2016

        I’m not sure if you understood my point. It was about dog and cat rescue people not recognizing parrots breeders as being the same problem as dog and cat breeders, and the over-population problem they all have in common. I don’t know about an over-population problem in miniature chickens or reptiles. Reptiles are in a similar boat as parrots because they’re not domesticated either, but there doesn’t seem to be that much of a lack of homes.

        I’m often disturbed when I’m discussing breeders, and the subject is changed to rescues, ARLs, local Humane Societies, HSUS, ASPCA, SPCA, and/or whatever entity is brought up to take the spotlight off of the real problem: too many animals, not enough homes, and human greed. Some rescue organizations are not good, in fact there are some who are terrible, whether it’s due to their lack of care for the animals in their charge, or bilking the public; however, most are good people doing good work, and using their own money and time to run their operation. If you want to do away with bad rescues, then we need to first do away with breeders.

      • carol gelfand
        October 24, 2016

        ok i am changing the discussion briefly to focus on rescues. I think most rescues are started with excellent intentions but life changing events which people don’t anticipate and being overwhelmed with the exorbitant cost and time of maintaing a good parrot rescue can sometimes lead people to maybe sell a few of the birds allowed to breed to help with operation costs. owners of operations my become sick and die without any legal guidelines setup to continue the operation such as in the canadian parrot rescue. ok i am done now.

      • Shari Mirojnick
        October 24, 2016

        All that is true, and I can’t think of anything worse than a rescue who breeds. If you breed, you are the problem. But in no way does any of this compare to the suffering of parrots who are breeders. I go into more detail about it in an earlier post: https://speakingforparrots.wordpress.com/2015/01/04/people-are-the-same-all-over-a-hidden-truth-in-aviculture/

      • Debbie Goodrich
        October 19, 2017

        I totally feel that if a rescue breeds because THE PARROT WANTS TO, WHY THE HECK NOT?? If parrots are breeding and happy and producing great babies and they are educational, why the heck not? Because there are too many? If that is the case, then why are African greys now CITES 1???????? IF it’s the pet trade that is causing their decline as is currently being touted, then we should breed every one of the birds we have in captivity to stop people from taking them by the hundreds of thousands from Africa. Okay, are breeders taking them? Or the end pet person? The answer…end pet person. So, no, there is not an overpopulation problem. There is an understanding problem. An ability to keep your animal despite a problem problem. A lack of support system problem that continues to grow from people who protest breeders or equally protest rescues. I think all are needed and all have a place no differently than foster families, adoption families or families who have their own children.

      • Shari Mirojnick
        December 24, 2017

        The very fact that greys had to be uplisted to Appendix I shows that breeding in captivity doesn’t protect wild populations.

        A rescue breeding is adding to the problem they’re trying to alleviate. Even so, can you imagine what aviculturists would have to say about a rescue selling baby parrots?? They already claim that most rescues are in it for the money, and this would just fuel that lame fire.

        You say there’s no overpopulation problem, but an understanding problem. The understanding problem is yours, because to accept the fact that there are more parrots than there are homes (as stated by Jamie Whittaker, President of the American Federation of Aviculture) is to accept that parrot keeping in itself is a problem. Denial, denial, denial.

    • Debbie Goodrich
      October 19, 2017

      One thing I’ve seen propagated way too much is that rescues or sanctuaries are the only place a parrot can be happy. Really? Only happy with other parrots? Or you have the lovely Parrots Confidential movie that came out showing no behavior person at all actually working to solve the problem or to release a hand-raised baby scarlet to the wild as a good thing. Its not a good thing. They did that in 94 in Tambopata and it failed because parrots returned to humans. Unless you want them to always come back for a photo shoot, parrots in S. America get eaten, so, no, you don’t want them to come back. Or the lovely article, “millions of parrots lead miserable lives”. Really? All parrots that are currently in captiivty are miserable. There are no happy parrots ever which means even if you adopt them, they are still unhappy because they are with you. I’m sorry, but no. Parrots show clear behavior evidence and adaption evidence to indicate they are not only just fine with us but thrive with us as well if we learn how to build that relationship. Im personally sick and tired of the “easy out” used when a person’s life is not going as planned. “I’ll just give it to a sanctuary or a rescue because of….” well, when adopting a child or having a child, you prepare for your life to totally change…why aren’t we doing the same for animals? Then again, we dump children all the time, too. We have a human over population problem. Certainly not a pet over-population problem. We have an integrity and apathy problem. Animals can help us with this problem, if we give them the chance.

      • Shari Mirojnick
        October 22, 2017

        Just as you can say that “parrots show clear behavior evidence” that they are happy, the same, even more so, can be said about the unhappy ones. You can blame people for that, but then you prove the argument that human beings are just incapable of caring for such complicated creatures.

        I don’t think I’ve ever heard or seen in writing the idea that parrots can only be happy in a sanctuary or rescue. It’s all a captive environment, and is unsuitable. I’m not saying that there aren’t some happy parrots, but there are just too many who have all sorts of emotional problems, like self-mutilation. It far outnumbers the percentages of dogs and cats with such intense emotional problems. So, how many self-mutilating parrots–or parrots with so many other problems–is too much? I’ve asked this question over and over, but no one has even tried to answer it.

        And parrots aren’t here to solve our problems. It’s not all about us and what parrots, or any other nonhuman animals–can do for us. We’re the ones with the “big brain.” What can we do for them?

    • Debbie Goodrich
      October 19, 2017

      Totally agree with you, yvonne. Obviously, Shari feels this way too, because she is passionate. She is passionate because she loves parrots and has felt the love parrots have had for her. Imagine people never getting that experience, never knowing in the future.

      To me, to rescue a parrot means to save its life from a life-threatening situation. To rehome a parrot, or to find a better home for a parrot, I’ve had to do myself. Most of the time, I listen to the parrot and see someone that parrot wants and off they go. Or if they want to stay for 20 or more years with me, which most have, they stay.

      It’s not that hard to figure them out and figure out how people can fit correctly in their life long term. Also another term I hate, “forever home”. They have NO SUCH THING IN THE WILD!!!!!!!!! NEVER!!!! they do not have that expectation naturally whatsoever. Take your bird out, show them the world. Introduce them to people, keep them social and part of the human flock. Get them associated with “the rules”. Their parents teach them that and so should we.

      • Shari Mirojnick
        December 24, 2017

        First, you obviously didn’t read my response, or you just choose to ignore it.

        Second, I don’t think you get to determine what language should and shouldn’t be used.

        Third, you’re wrong about “forever home.” Maybe you should look at it like, Til Death Do Us Part. We know nothing lives forever, but most parrots will stay with the same partner until one dies. I think we might consider that “forever.”

        Fourth, I’m sure the love of an orca would also be a wonderful thing, but I don’t want that experience. It’s not in the best interest of the orca, and the same goes for parrots. Parrots in captivity make my life better, but not theirs. No wild animal deserves to be kept as a pet.

  10. Carol stevens
    October 26, 2016

    How could a parrot adopted .

    • Shari Mirojnick
      October 26, 2016

      I’m not sure I understand. Would you like to know how to adopt a parrot?

  11. Phyllis Seager
    October 31, 2016

    I found this very informative. The only thing I know about parrots is that they have long life spans, longer than many humans. I house/birdsat for my uncle years ago when he visited Brazil and found just the correct feeding and addition of vitamin drops (I think that’s what they were) required me to get up 1 hour earlier for work. He had a huge parrot (mean to strangers which I was) a small parrot(also mean) and a friendly cockatiel. I think many dog/cat advocates are like me, and just don’t know enough about birds to feel competent to speak out. Obviously the sight of dirty, filthy cages would get us angry but it’s obvious we need to educate ourselves in the plight of birds.

    • Shari Mirojnick
      October 31, 2016

      Thank you, I’m glad you read it. As you know from caring for someone else’s parrots for a short period, they are time consuming, expensive, and complex. They are highly intelligent, and need so much to keep them busy. A wild parrot spends a lot of time doing parrot things, like feeding, making nests, feeding chicks, preening, playing and flying from food source to food source. Yes, there are a lot of dirty cages out there where parrots endure horrible lives, but even the cleanest cage is a cage. Parrots who are used as breeders live in the confines of that cage for years on end, with no enrichment, no medical care, and lack of proper diet (if these things were offered, aviculturists wouldn’t be able to turn a profit). To really understand, see my post, “People Are The Same All Over.” https://speakingforparrots.wordpress.com/2015/01/04/people-are-the-same-all-over-a-hidden-truth-in-aviculture/
      (there are some pretty interesting comments, too).

      Parrots are long-lived in comparison to other companion animals, but the evidence doesn’t point to the ages of 70-, 80-, or 90-year lifespans. Only a few species are capable of living as long as humans, but a recent study shows that most parrots in captivity live very short lives. Most medium to large parrot species have a lifespan of about 40-50 years; however, many captive individuals die well before that, usually around 12 years old. I wrote another blog post about that, too, “Realistic Lifespans Of Parrots In Captivity:” https://speakingforparrots.wordpress.com/2016/01/20/realistic-lifespans-of-parrots-in-captivity/
      In both of the blog posts, the comments make it evident how those in the parrot pet trade are angered by us talking about these issues. They disseminate a lot of misinformation to fool and confuse people, and that’s part of the problem parrot advocates face, on top of the homelessness, overbreeding, health, death rate, miserable conditions, and many things other animal advocates face.
      If there’s one thing that might help others understand, it’s that parrots aren’t dogs and cats, yet they are the third most popular pet in the US. Parrots are wild animals, never having been domesticated, and keeping them is just like keeping other animals in captivity who belong in the wild. They also comprise many endangered species, some critically, and they are all on one of the Appendices for CITES. There are no other endangered species whose genetics are so compromised by breeding for the pet trade. Whether backyard or mill, there is no consideration given to genetics. Anyone can buy a pair and start breeding willy-nilly. Anyone can purchase some endangered species, and inbreed them for color mutation. These are some of the issues that need to get out there, so people understand how unsuitable parrots are as pets, and really, how morally wrong.

  12. Anna Bookelaar
    October 31, 2016

    Some of the aggression that is the reason owners give up on their birds is due to hormones. I have always wondered if there was a procedure to spay or neuter birds not meant to breed. Many people get two birds to keep each other company but end up with babies that they sell because it’s what birds do.

    • Shari Mirojnick
      October 31, 2016

      That’s very true. Just like other wild animals, they are cute and cuddly as babies, but once sexual maturity sets in, things change. This is why young wolves, chimps, tigers and bears become so dangerous as adults. Unfortunately for parrots, they can’t maul or kill you, so somehow we’ve decided that this makes them good pets. No wild animal should be a pet. As for some kind of neutering, hysterectomies (partial or full) are a last alternative for a parrot hen who has issues with chronic egg-laying and egg-binding. It’s a risky surgery, because of the amount of blood that can be lost, along with all the other risks associated with surgery and recovery. Probably really expensive, too. But the problem is, it’s really just one of the many reasons why parrots are not suitable pets. Humans keep trying to mold them into pets, but it’s always at the detriment to parrots. And breeders keep breeding them, and they never tell people what can happen once a baby reaches sexual maturity (but that wouldn’t sell baby parrots, now would it). And biting, territorial, aggressive and screaming parrots are an excellent way for aviculturists to get free or near-free breeder birds.

      • Debbie Goodrich
        October 19, 2017

        I don’t know what breeders you speak to, but all the breeders I speak to tell life as it really is with a parrot from baby to adult. Most people give no consideration whatsoever in the developmental needs of parrots learning independence. Instead, we design and desire for co-dependent behavior. I have many parrots. One is a 29 year old male Double Yellow Headed Amazon. He does not like hands all that much. But loves to watch people. I have a 26 year old caique that loves to hang out, show off, do behaviors but hands. Hands , hands, hands. People, not anyone I know wants your hands all over them. Parrots feel the same way. Dogs are bred to go to hands practically and even they shy away from hands. We fail totally by not utilizing ALL resources available to us. Including, say, behaviorists to handle the sexuality or say a veterinary intervention?

      • Shari Mirojnick
        October 22, 2017

        Thank you for making one of my points, specifically stated, that we try to mold parrots into being the pets we want them to be. It’s not only that people are uneducated, but that we expect more from our pets than being a hands-off pet. That’s why dogs make great companions, which is the opposite of who parrots are.

    • Debbie Goodrich
      October 19, 2017

      I have two amazons, male and female, that could copulate but do not. They are older, too. But they enjoy each other’s company. No, we do not always end up with babies. Yes, I DO wish we could spay or neuter birds easier if people have no intention of breeding so we do not have to struggle with hormone-based behavior. Even then, that behavior can be re-directed and learned through process even when it’s triggered or gross and evident.

      • Shari Mirojnick
        October 22, 2017

        If the hormone-based behavior can be re-directed, why then don’t we keep other wild animals as pets? You may be able to help them with their hormones, but nature is stronger. Living things must have an imperative to breed or there wouldn’t be anyone left. Again, it’s trying to mold parrots into something they’re not.

  13. Sandy Merriman
    October 31, 2016

    This is such a great read. I thank you for posting. We had a Blue Fronted Amazon and we love and miss her dearly. She was to out live us and when we found her at 4 years old passed away i feel it had to be something I unintentionally did. I love all animals but parrots hold a special place in my heart. I sometimes wish to volunteer my time. I don’t know why ours passed so young i have read up i found a few things I didn’t know and maybe one day will have another.

    • Shari Mirojnick
      October 31, 2016

      I’m so sorry about your blue-fronted Amazon. Before I go any further, you might be interested in reading this post, “Realistic Lifespans Of Parrots In Captivity:” https://speakingforparrots.wordpress.com/2016/01/20/realistic-lifespans-of-parrots-in-captivity/
      You’ll find that you’re not alone. It’s one of the things that not only breaks my heart for the parrots, but also for the people. It’s so easy to scapegoat the guardians of parrots when there’s a premature death, illness, or self-mutilation (that’s my latest post, “Parrot Feather Picking, Self-Mutilation, and Other OCD Behaviors: It’s Not Your Fault.\:” https://speakingforparrots.wordpress.com/2016/10/23/parrot-feather-picking-self-mutilation-and-other-ocd-behaviors-its-not-your-fault/ )
      Shortened lifespan is one part of why parrots are not suitable pets, and also that we are not suitable guardians. It’s impossible for us to even come close to creating a life in captivity that reflects their life in the wild. There are many parrot organizations who would be so happy to and benefit from you volunteering your time. There are also so many parrots in need of homes, and that might be an option for you.

      • Debbie Goodrich
        October 19, 2017

        I’m sorry, but the lifespan of wild parrots is half the lifespan of captive ones, HANDS DOWN. Macaws, for example, live for about 25 years at the most in the wild. Dr. Susan Clubb’s research showed they are around 50 years in captivity. Life in the wild is harsh, with no vets, no dietician, lots of deficit. So, no, parrots are not shortened in their lifespan because they are captive. The exact opposite is true. Look at any scientific data on lifespan of captive vs. wild parrots.

        BTW, because parrots, in the new world parrots, are 28 million years old vs our own roughly less than 1 million years old, their ability to adapt to environments that change is far superior to our own. Parrots make great companions and family members but there is no way I consider them property or pets and all animals should not be treated that way, sure. However, they also do not have inalienable rights as if a human and should never have those rights because they cannot speak our language nor us theirs. Therefore, we will never be able to have true representation of their wants or needs known.

        Do they make horrible companions. No way. We are not suitable guardians for the entire planet. However, we are here and we need to learn to be suitable. Parrots can certainly teach us, if we only listen.

      • Shari Mirojnick
        October 22, 2017

        Debbie, your comment a big contradiction. I can’t comment on Clubb’s research, but other research shows that captive parrots do not live that long. I put a link to this extensive study, and is there for you to read in that blog post. Also, if you read the post, I’m not comparing lifespans of captive and wild parrots, just discussing the lifespans of those in captivity. As someone whose been around thousands of parrots, I meet only a small minority who live a long life. So, my post is based on science and my personal experience.

        Life in the wild, at times is harsh, but that’s life. Wild parrots can be observed relaxing in a tree, preening, snoozing, and doing things that in no way exhibit stress from a harsh life. I feel silly having to address this, but of course there aren’t any dietitians in the wild—they’re not needed. We need them in captivity because we can’t replicate a wild diet, which is yet another reason why parrots shouldn’t be pets.

        Adapting to a new or different environment doesn’t mean the individual is thriving or happy. Which brings me to your point about not knowing their wants and needs. Exactly. We can’t know what they are thinking about their living conditions, so we should err on the side of caution, ie, leave them to the environment in which they did evolve. Of course, you also state that “Parrots can certainly teach us, if we only listen,” which implies if we listen to them, we will understand them. Maybe I’m not understanding you, but sometimes I wonder how much of what you write are your own thoughts. You meander, contradict, lack citations and coherency. It forces me to respond to these long-winded comments because there are people out there who might be fooled by what seems to be logic. That’s pretty far from the truth.

  14. Debbie Goodrich
    October 19, 2017

    I think we should talk conversationally about your article. There is a lot of misrepresentation you are giving and there is a lot of science proving what is good about having parrots with people and what is bad about having parrots with people. There are a few major things to remember about parrots.

    1. OUR CAPTIVE PARROTS THAT HAVE BEEN RAISED IN CAPTIVITY ARE NOT WILD, not at all. I’ve seen wild parrots, been to the wild to see wild parrots and the behaviors, etc, shown in F1 generation domestic raising of birds is NOTHING AT ALL LIKE F1 wild parrots. Not at all the same. Which is why valid and tried and true conservation groups do not allow hand-raising of parrots for conservation projects to be releasable animals. They are not releaseable because they return to people vs. retaining fully wild, fear of human, values they need for preservation in S. America. Australia, is different along with India….Our parrots don’t fly the same, don’t have the physical traits and very seldomly do we teach or present opportunities for gaining adult independence from needing our support.

    2. It is scientifically documented in the Journal Criminology that breeding of parrots in captivity has shown over 40% reduction in poaching needs of popular pet species.

    3. (2016)It is scientifically documented that Poaching of parrots is SECONDARY, NOT PRIMARY, to the main cause of parrots disappearing from the wild. PRIMARY, as in the root cause of a parrot disappearing is AGRICULTURE and wasteful large-agro practices. So, because we are expanding our demand on agriculture vs controlling our population, what is going to happen to wild parrots? Where do they have left to go? No matter what, we influence their behavior of the wild whether we want to, know about it or not. Pet parrots can teach us to change.

    4. Anti-breeding is winning. Not “for-breeding”, not by a very long shot. Most valuable collections, informative and educational breeders that have smaller flocks are regulated right out of business. A Breeder is who put me on my advocacy path.
    Not a rescue. Now, however, nearly all good, small, education-based breeding have been regulated out of business.

    5. The Endangered Species Act has done absolutely NOTHING to save any wild parrot whatsoever(okay, their assocative agency gave a whopping 450K total since inception of parrots being on the ESA to a total of 9 parrot species over 25 years–something like 24K. Like that can even pay one researcher to do their job.) Blue Throat Macaw Conservation alone need millions of dollars raised annual to support the staff and research teams. I mean, who is going to spend their entire life in the field and not get paid? No one.

    6. The Carolina Conure was a Native United States parrot we could have saved with more breeding. They are extinct. The Thick Billed Parrot was found in the desert southwest is gone. The population in US is not big enough for a release project. The Puerto Rican parrot is ours only because Puerto Rico is a US territority and we wiped them mostly out too because we pushed their populations too high into mountains that get ripped apart by hurricanes. There were only 22 left and captive breeding and current captive breeding is THE ONLY THING saving them. But let’s not shop, let’s adopt. Let’s not let breeding win, lets fight it all the way. Where do you think people learned to save the species? From NGO’s? From Government finance? Are you kidding? From selling the animals on open market.

    7. The endangered species act working at all on exotics has taken billions away from being able to protect our own, native species. The Red Wolf project in South Carolina, for example, are suing USFWS for failing to guard against the 52 remaining animals in the world. It should focus on its purpose and get off going after pet parrots that have already been taken and are being bred in larger number. The pet trade genetic diversity being the only thing keeping Blue Throat Macaws going currently. But that is to come to an end as they were added to the ESA making it illegal to sell a bird across state lines.

    8. Much sooner than later, we will not have pets with us any longer that are bred here. Is that bad or good? You decide. I know I trust nothing that comes from China. Only half what comes from India…Less regulation is not okay in my book.
    Saving meat dogs from other countries means dogs coming in with parasites our country has never seen before. No thank you.

    The term, “Don’t Shop, Adopt” only means, “Don’t get a pet” because if you get one, any one, someone, somewhere, had to breed it or take it. The question will then be who, where and how. Keep it legal to breed in the US.

    • Shari Mirojnick
      October 22, 2017

      Yes, let’s talk conversationally, because you are misrepresenting what I’ve said.

      1. I never said that any captive parrot, even those that were wild-caught, should go back to the wild. I never, ever said that anywhere. What I have said is that the pet trade in parrots should end, and the parrots in captivity should live out the rest of their lives in captivity as they couldn’t survive in the wils. So your first paragraph is moot.

      2. Can you offer a link to the study you are citing. You don’t say what part of the world there was this reduction in poaching, who did the study, where and on whom the the study was conducted.

      Even so, it’s not the point. There are other methods for cutting down on poaching, like banning the pet trade all together. Parrots and other wildlife are more easily poached when there is a legal trade, because they can be laundered into the legal trade.

      3. Again, where is a link to this documentation.

      But what does it matter what’s primary and what’s secondary? Both are causing problems for wild population, which is why legitimate conservation efforts include habitat restoration and education of the locals. There are plenty of projects, eg The Cape Parrot Project where they are working with the local people doing things like planting the trees on which the Cape parrot feeds. This is the type of conservation to save parrot species that we should be doing more of, not letting just anyone to buy some parrots and breed them for money. That does nothing for genetics or habitat restoration. What it does is cause two parrots to a life as baby-making machines, stuck in flights, rarely—if ever—raising their own chicks to fledging. What must the stress be like every time their eggs and/or chicks are poached from the nest box?

      4. “Anti-breeding” is winning because the hearts and minds of most people are changing. Maybe that should something “for breeding” people should heed. People have learned about parrot intelligence, that they are not domesticated, and that most are stuck in cages for long periods of time. The general public wants to see parrots and other birds flying free. I don’t know what regulation you’re talking about. There’s barely regulation of dog and cat breeding, and even less for parrots and other birds. The only regulation I can think of is the Endangered Species Act, and that only encompasses a small amount of species. I see you bring up the ESA in the next paragraph, so I’ll address it there.

      5. What the ESA does is prevent the movement of listed species from state to state without a permit. If someone smuggles multiple listed parrots into Texas, for example, they will have a difficult time getting them into other states. This prevents poaching/smuggling. We should have permits for all parrots, because they encompass endangered species. Endangered species should be highly regulated to protect, not have them in people’s living rooms. With what other endangered species do we to that?

      6. I really can’t believe this paragraph, and once again you make assertions for which you offer no evidence. First, the Carolina conure was an agricultural pest, and persecuted as such. They were hunted down, and no one cared about them to conserve the species. To suggest that breeding for the pet trade during the 19th and early 20th century would have saved the species is ridiculous.

      My local bird club was involved with a project to conserve the thick-billed parrot, so I don’t know why you are saying that they cannot be captive bred and released.

      Captive breeding of the Puerto Rican Amazon and the sentiment, “Don’t shop, adopt” have nothing to do with each other. The conservation efforts of different projects has nothing to do with selling them as pets, but for release back into the wild. There aren’t any, nor will there be any Cape parrots, Puerto Rican Amazons, Imperial Amazons, Spix’s macaws, red-necked Amazons or Abbott’s cockatoos bred for the pet trade.

      Your assertion that people learn about parrots from selling them on the open market is also unfounded. Most endangered species that people know about are not a part of the pet trade. Are you saying that people care about whales because they have them in their living rooms (yes, that sounds dumb, but I don’t know how else to respond to such a statement).

      7. Again, I’d love to see where USFWS has spent billions on parrots.

      Let’s be clear, it’s NOT illegal to sell listed species across state lines. Anyone can buy and sell listed species with a permit. All the information for obtaining one is listed on USFWS’s website. This is an out and out lie that aviculturists intentionally quote in order to scare the dickens out of pet owners.

      8. Truly a pointless statement. Most people I know, and myself, still accept dogs and cats as companions, and there are plenty to go around. Stopping the breeding of parrots in the US is only one facet of this enormous problem. Just like other endangered species, they need to be protected around the world. Yes, there will be some poaching, as there is with all wildlife, but ending the pet trade stops mass cruelty. I care about the parrots in other countries, too, and so should you. Not because you don’t want to buy your parrots from China, but care about how these captive parrots live. This isn’t about you or me and what’s available to us. It’s about their suffering, not our access to them.

      Again you make a false equivalency between not keeping domesticated animals as companions and adoption. Adoption obviously hasn’t hurt the breeding of dogs and cats, as evidenced by the amount killed each year at shelters.

  15. Yoli Bern
    October 29, 2017

    I remember a woman who used to breed Timneh African Grey parrots. Her whole house was built around it. At one end of the large common room she’d sectioned off a large space with wire netting. In that space were small individual nest cages with nest boxes in the back. At night, or if everyone had to go out, all the parrots were locked in the small cages. During the day they were all loose in the large enclosure and there was a small door through a window to an outdoor cage. Weather permitting they were free to go outside as well. Most of the day the enclosure door was open and the parrots freely engaged the family, destroyed the window valances and blinds, played with the humans by being swung on the phone cord or spun on the fan, for example. they were free to pop over to the dining table and beg tidbits of meals, or join someone for a cuddle in front of the tv. Her flock had about a half dozen permanent members and all babies got handled daily even though the parent birds were allowed to continue to parent their offspring. I thought that was the norm. I hope the brave new future includes breeders like that. I wish I could give my old boy to her because he’d be better cared for than I’m doing. I do what I can for the boy, but I know it’s not enough. If I could, I’d send the poor wild-caught creature back to the jungles whence he was snatched. Not only are those countries still not safe, however, he’s lost the fitness and abilities needed to fare on his own. Parrots are awesome people but they really are lousy pets. I love mine and he’s welcome to reside in my home all his days, but it’s not the best thing for either of us. I just don’t know of anything better. Even that sanctuary in BC that seemed so great went kablooey in a few weeks when one key person died. Hundreds of parrots went homeless and wound up shuttling, yet again, from shelter to shelter. For someone with a lifespan equal or greater to humans to be kept in captivity, jailed in a cage in a house for life, it’s a terrible thing to do.

    • Shari Mirojnick
      December 24, 2017

      Unfortunately, most breeder parrots are kept in cages or flights, always. The kind of communal breeding set up you describe doesn’t yield as many chicks as doing it the other way; therefore, most people won’t opt for this kind of set up.

      I know what you mean about feeling like you can’t care for your parrot as well as you should. I think if you don’t feel that way, you’re not paying attention.

      I, too have a wild-caught grey. We’ve lived together since 1994. He’s a sweet kid, but definitely has some issues. I think it’s from capture and all the bad treatment they go through before getting a new home. It’s a terrible feeling when you can look these parrots in the eye, and all you can do is apologize for humankind.

  16. Polly Anna Hunt
    October 30, 2017

    So true, regulations and restrictions for breeders should be in place for all animals. Farm industry of Pot Belly pigs etc. are in need also. I’m in the dog and cat rescue category. But I find donations for a bird sanctuary I support.In fact I have a trunk load of Bird seeds and toys etc. right now to deliver.I plan on adopting a bird in the future,educating myself with help from the sanctuary what would be the right fit and age appropriate for me.

    • Shari Mirojnick
      December 24, 2017

      All I can say is, thank you. Parrots really need people like you.

  17. G
    November 1, 2017

    I just took in a former breeding bird, and I agree with everything you said. I saw a tiny budgie being given away on kijiji and I realized she was missing tail feathers and had a beak problem. I snapped her up out of worry that a kid would buy her and not know that she needed her beak trimmed.

    It turned out she had a whole host of problems, none of them listed on the add. After taking her home and realizing just how badly mangled her longer wing feathers were and how badly swollen her cere was, I messaged the old owners to find out more. She had been used as a breeder budgie by someone they knew, and they asked to take her home because her mate had attacked her, and she languished with them for three months. No vet visit, no cuttlebone, no fruits and veggies. Her diet was millet and sunflower seeds.

    She came to me in a broken cage on a cold, windy night, and I noticed an odd growth on her wings in the morning. Come the evening, I knew I had to take her to the vet. I thought she was going to have tumors or some disease that could infect my other two birds. It turns out all she needed was a proper diet. The vet said that breeders often feed them a high-fat diet, which is good for the eggs, but not good for the mother. They’re bred so often and they put everything they have into the eggs and nothing into themselves. It was time that somebody put that same amount of love back into this tiny budgie.

    In a few months, once she’s recovered and regrown her feathers, she’ll be joining my flock and will never have to worry about breeding again. I don’t care if she might never look as cute as some birds due to her past. she’s mine, and she will be until the day she’s had enough with this world.

    One of my other birds was also given to me. I was out walking my dogs and my cockatiel, when by chance I ran into someone I knew. On a whim, I decided to show him my new bird, who I had just bought from an owner who didn’t have the time for her. He excitedly exclaimed ‘oh that’s a cockatiel! I had one but she got pregnant and died. Do you want a lovebird, I’ll give you a lovebird!’, then went on to explain their sad story.

    ‘Birdie’, as he was called, was dropped off in their driveway one cold Canadian Winter night, along with his companion. They were both in a tiny pet carrier, and no one knew they were there. If they hadn’t been planning on going out, they wouldn’t have known they were there. He said they were surprised- he thought it was a bomb, and they took them inside.The cockatiel had soon died of ‘being pregnant’ (aka: eggbinding) after being put in the same tiny cage as ‘Birdie’, and their lovebird spent the next five years alone.

    They wheeled out a tiny, filthy, broken cage and uncovered it to show me ‘Birdie’, and asked me to put him in the same carrier my tiel was in. I said no, as I didn’t know if they’d get along well enough for that, and they eventually offered to wheel him to my home. They said they hadn’t cleaned his cage for a day or two, but what I found was way worse than they implied. Everything was covered in his poop. His water was sludgy. There was paper stacked ontop of rotten, black paper. He only had a few seeds in his covered bowl he could hardly fit his head into and no way of getting at him. They told me they only feed him a dozen seeds a day as ‘lovebirds don’t eat much’.

    He and my tiel get along quite well now. They both have their own large cages, they preen one another and perch on the same tree branch turned birdie playground until its time for them both to go to bed in their own cages in my room. They have a little feeding station next to me on my computer desk, next to the warm computer they love perching on. One day soon, I’m going to have three fluffy butts perching there instead of just two.

    Breeders really need to stop and consider the welfare of their birds.

    • Shari Mirojnick
      December 24, 2017

      I’m so glad your birds found you. You sound like a great home. Thank you for caring so much. ❤

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This entry was posted on October 17, 2016 by and tagged , , , , , , , .