How To Adopt or Foster
Criteria for Adopting or Fostering
Since Mickaboo assumes responsibility for our birds for life, it is important that we and our adopters share an understanding of what is needed to keep a bird healthy and happy as long as he lives. These include:
- informing adopters about who we are and what we do
- ensuring that adopters and fosters understand the legal obligations (on both sides) associated with adopting from us
- providing adopters with the most current information we have about avian nutrition and husbandry
- educating adopters about safety concerns and, by visiting their home, looking for dangers they might not be aware of
To learn more, read Why attend our training class? You may also want to read about common misconceptions about rescue groups before going through our application process. You may also watch this nine-minute video. The video speaks to becoming qualified to adopt or foster a Mickaboo bird, given the constraints of the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing.
Please bear with us during the screening process. Mickaboo is an all-volunteer organization and it may take some time to complete this process.
- Attend a free Mickaboo bird care class.
- Submit an application, as described in Application Forms.
- After processing your application, a Mickaboo volunteer will call you for a phone screen.
- The final screening step is for Mickaboo to schedule and do a home visit.
- When the screening is complete, you are submitted for approval.
- Once approved, you can go and meet the foster birds.
- If you want to foster a bird, Mickaboo provides a cage and covers any necessary medical expenses.
- Adopters pay an adoption fee, which varies by species. Birds adopted from Mickaboo may not be sold, given away, or used as "breeder stock." If a new owner cannot keep an adopted bird, the bird must be returned to Mickaboo.
Please read our disclaimer below, which is part of the application that you will be signing. Taking our free Basic Bird Care class is a prerequisite to submitting an application. Please provide the date and location of the class you have taken on the application form. You can submit an application online or download and fill out a PDF-formatted application form (use the free Adobe Reader to read the PDF). To submit the PDF application, either:
- Bring it with you to a bird care class and hand it in to the teacher at the end of the class
- Fax it to 1-866-201-4199
- Scan it to an image and email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mail it to our address listed on the application (PO Box 697, San Jose, CA 95106)
NOTE: The PDF forms cannot be simply 'saved' and emailed to us!
Our primary concern is the well being of these animals. The majority of them have at some time, either been abused, neglected, sick or injured. For these reasons, all prospective foster and /or adoptive parents must fill out an application and attend one of our regularly scheduled bird education classes, please see our scheduled events page for our next scheduled class. You must also participate in our screening process prior to receipt of any bird. We charge an adoption fee for all birds adopted from Mickaboo. The amount of the fee depends on the species of bird adopted.
Due to our commitment to place these birds in the best possible environment, we reserve the right to refuse adoption/fostering of any bird to anyone for any reason. For more information, please see rescue myths. If you are applying to adopt a bird larger than a Cockatiel you must submit a written authorization from your landlord along with a phone number where he/she can be reached, if you are renting. We also reserve the right to repossess any birds adopted/fostered if we find for any reason their care requirements are not being met. Additionally, applicants must sign a written contract stating that "No birds adopted/fostered from Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue shall be used for breeding purposes." If for any reason they can no longer keep one of our adopted birds, they agree to arrange for immediate return of the bird to Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue. For this reason no birds will be adopted outside the state of California.
And, finally, due to the responsibilities involved in pet ownership, and the possibility of incurring significant costs associated with veterinary care, by signing a foster or adoption application, all applicants signify that they are at least 18 years of age. If you become a Mickaboo Volunteer, or adopt from us, there are a few policies we wish to be up front about to avoid any misunderstandings later on. Our volunteers and foster parents are our most valuable assets, and we'd like to keep it that way. As a Mickaboo Volunteer or adoptive parent, you may, from time to time be trusted with confidential personal information regarding, but not limited to address, telephone, and other personal information of other Mickaboo volunteers and adoptive parents. It is our policy that this information is not only proprietary, but confidential as well. In the interest of professionalism, no one who volunteers for or adopts from Mickaboo will be authorized to share, or otherwise disseminate this information for any reason, not limited to sales pitches, business opportunities, or any other activities which may present a conflict of interest, or otherwise result in any harm to Mickaboo or any of its agents, foster parents, adoptive parents, or other volunteers. By returning this application, you are certifying that you will abide by each and every one of these terms, as well as the terms of the application itself.
Our foster parents are caring, conscientious volunteers who care for displaced rescue birds until a permanent home can be found. These individuals go through our entire approval process first. They care for the birds and supply food, treats, toys and love. Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue supplies cages and medical care. Foster parents are expected to drive his/her foster bird(s) to the veterinarian if necessary. They might also have to drive to pick up the bird(s) or drop them off to a permanent home. Foster parents may become permanent parents should they wish to do so.
Our primary concern is the well-being of our birds. The majority of them have at some time, either been abused, neglected, sick or injured. Our process, which includes education, is intended to protect the interests of our birds.
Many adopters found Mickaboo with years of companion parrot experience, and yet have still learned and continue to learn, as a result of finding Mickaboo. Also, Avian medicine is an ever-evolving topic, and there is always something new to learn. Requiring that all potential adopters and volunteers take our class ensures that we can assume that everyone has a base-line of information. Regardless of the number of years of experience an individual has with birds, there is no other way to ensure this, and we owe that to all of the birds we have taken into our care.
Please join our next class in your area. If this is not possible, we do offer an extensive phone class as well. Here are some of the topics that our Basic Bird Care class covers:
Parrots are Exotic Pets
- While parrots are social and can enjoy the company of humans, they are not domesticated, meaning they have not been bred to live with humans nor to bend to our will. Parrots naturally behave as their counterparts in wild do. This behavior must be properly understood and managed with positive reinforcement clicker training, and must not be “crushed” with a forceful response.
- Parrots are prey, flock animals. They have no sense of an alpha leader and no understanding of punishment other than to interpret it as "I'm going to get eaten." As prey animals, they are constantly vigilant, cautious, easily frightened, and unforgiving of mistreatment. And as prey animals, they will go to great lengths to hide illness as a survival technique. Caregivers must constantly be on the lookout for subtle signs of illness.
- Parrots are not mammals. Their body language is through beaks and feathers, not fur and teeth; and cuddling with them can have very negative consequences.
- Parrots are born to be vocal, in order to warn and communicate with other members of the flock across great distances. Parrots will be loud and it is their nature. Again, this can be managed by understanding the reason for the vocalization and using positive reinforcement clicker training to manage it.
- Because parrots are naturally curious and inquisitive, they usually like to play, meaning explore and chew on just about anything that strikes their interest. In caregivers’ homes this behavior is seen as destructive, but must be understood as natural and handled in an appropriate manner.
- In the wild, birds forage and drop or toss food. In our homes, happy birds also toss food and toys, usually creating quite a mess! Again, this is a natural instinct, and foraging and playing should be encouraged. Potential caregivers need to be aware of and prepared for this.
- Parrot vision is very sophistocated and surpasses that of humans; and their lighting needs are greater than those of mammals and humans. Lighting affects their behavior, their diet, their sleep, their molting, their health, and their reproductive instincts. Improper lighting can permanently damage your parrot’s eyes.
- Parrots have long life spans. Depending on the species, parrots can live 20 to 50 years or more. Caring for a bird is often a life-long responsibility that should not be entered into lightly, or without planning for their future.
- Parrots are extremely social animals, and have been compared to human toddlers in the needs of their emotional and social lives but, unlike children, they never grow up.
- Parrots are active and inquisitive and require ample room to move about and play. An indoor or sheltered outdoor aviary, or a flight safe room (windows covered, no cats/dogs, no ceiling fans, etc.) that will allow the bird(s) to fly is good for exercise. Birds with clipped wings can get exercise by climbing, swinging, and flapping, if provided with ample space, toys, and climbing structures.
- Diets vary across species. All birds need a varied diet, not just seeds and/or pellets. They need lots of vegetables and leafy greens, supplemented by fruits in low portions. A low sugar, low fat, low protein diet is appropriate for most species. Improperly feeding your bird will significantly impact his/her lifespan. In the wild, many species eat buds, flowers, leaves, and stems as the major portion of their diet.
Parrot Health and Safety
- Avian biology is very different from mammals/humans and, because of their respiratory system, birds are particularly sensitive to air quality. Sources of toxic fumes include mold, Febreeze, and Teflon coatings found on everything from pans to clothes, irons, hair dryers and microwave popcorn bags. While mere exposure to toxic inhalants can cause immediate death, chronic exposure can lead to premature death.
- Birds require specialized veterinary care from Avian veterinarians. Proper vet care for birds can be expensive, and regular checkups are a must. And, small birds require the same vet care and regular examinations as larger pets.
- Chlamydiosis (psittacosis) and avian tuberculosis can be transmitted through the air from birds to humans. And birds also continually shed "feather dust" which are particles of feathers that can aggravate asthma in some people. Many homes with pet birds have HEPA-type air filters in rooms with birds to control allergies from bird dander.